Japanese stock futures were little changed on speculation the Bank of Japan will refrain from boosting monetary easing measures today, damping demand for growth-sensitive and financial shares that benefit from stimulus measures.
American depositary receipts of Mitsubishi UFJ Financial Group Inc. (8306), Japan’s biggest lender, fell 0.7 percent from the closing share price in Tokyo. Shares of Mitsui Fudosan Co. may be active after Japan’s largest property developer by sales forecast profit will more than double to at least 110 billion yen ($1.35 billion) in the year ending March 2018. ADRs of Woodside Petroleum Ltd. (WPL), Australia’s No. 2 oil producer, sank 1.2 percent after the price of crude dropped.
Futures on Japan’s Nikkei 225 Stock Average (NKY) expiring in June closed at 9,565 in Chicago yesterday, compared with 9,550 in Osaka, Japan. They were bid in the pre-market at 9,570 in Osaka at 8:05 a.m. local time. New Zealand’s NZX 50 Index (CRY) fell 0.1 percent in Wellington.
“People are concerned that the yen could rise when the BOJ refrains from boosting monetary easing today,” said Fumiyuki Nakanishi, a strategist at Tokyo-based SMBC Friend Securities Co. “Still, the bank is expected to do some kind of easing at its next meeting. Market sentiment doesn’t signal stocks will keep falling.”
Futures on the Standard & Poor’s 500 Index (SPXL1) added 0.1 percent today. The index slid 1.1 percent in New York yesterday after a report last week showed U.S. employers in March added the fewest jobs in five months.
Bank of Japan
The Bank of Japan concludes a meeting on interest-rate policy today. Governor Masaaki Shirakawa and his colleagues may expand the bank’s asset purchases at a meeting on April 27 when inflation data becomes available, according to Morgan Stanley MUFG Securities Co., Mizuho Securities Co. and SMBC Nikko Securities Inc.
The yen reached 80.20 per dollar yesterday, the highest level since March 8. A stronger yen cuts the value of overseas earnings at Japanese exporters when repatriated.
The MSCI Asia Pacific Index (MXAP) gained 9 percent this year through yesterday, compared with a 9.9 percent advance by the S&P 500 and a 5.9 percent increase by the Stoxx Europe 600 Index. Stocks in the Asian benchmark are valued at 12.7 times estimated earnings on average, compared with 13.2 times for the S&P 500 and 10.7 times for the Stoxx 600.
The Bloomberg China-US gauge, comprised of 55 U.S.-listed companies operating in the world’s second-biggest economy, declined 1.1 percent to 101.96 yesterday in New York. The drop followed data showing Chinese inflation quickened last month from February.
China’s trade deficit narrowed to $3.15 billion in March from $31.48 billion in February, according to the median estimate of economists surveyed by Bloomberg ahead of a report today.
Crude oil for May delivery fell 85 cents to settle at $102.46 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange. The Thomson Reuters/Jefferies CRB Index (CRY) of raw materials fell 0.5 percent yesterday.
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