Japanese stock futures were little changed after a bigger-than-expected increase in U.S. retail sales countered lingering concerns that Europe’s sovereign-debt crisis is spreading. Australian equity futures rose.
American depositary receipts of Canon Inc. (7751), Japan’s biggest camera maker that gets almost 60 percent of its sales in the Americas and Europe, fell 0.4 percent from the closing share price in Tokyo. Those of Mitsubishi UFJ Financial Group Inc. (8306), Japan’s largest lender, dropped 0.9 percent. ADRs of Woodside Petroleum Ltd. (WPL), Australia’s No. 2 oil and gas producer, added 0.3 percent after crude prices rose.
Futures on Japan’s Nikkei 225 Stock Average (NKY) expiring in June closed at 9,470 in Chicago yesterday, unchanged from the level in Osaka, Japan. They were bid in the pre-market at 9,480 in Osaka at 8:05 a.m. local time. Futures on Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 Index added 0.2 percent today. New Zealand’s NZX 50 Index rose 0.2 percent in Wellington.
“We may well see some points of strength in the Asian markets today,” said Angus Gluskie, managing director at White Funds Management in Sydney, who manages more than $350 million. “The employment and economic momentum in the U.S. has certainly increased significantly.”
Futures on the Standard & Poor’s 500 Index (SPXL1) were little changed today after the index fell less than 0.1 percent in New York yesterday. Most U.S. shares rose after a report showed retail sales gained 0.8 percent in March, almost three times as much as economists projected.
Spanish Bond Yields
Asian shares declined yesterday amid concern Spain may become the next euro-zone nation that will need a financial rescue as it struggles to cut its budget deficit. Spain’s 10- year government bond yields yesterday rose nine basis points to 6.07 percent ahead of today’s auction of bills.
Crude oil for May delivery gained 10 cents to settle at $102.93 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange. Prices are up 4.1 percent this year.
The Bloomberg China-US Equity Index of the most-traded Chinese shares in the U.S. lost 1.5 percent to 101.62 yesterday in New York. China Eastern Airlines Corp. tumbled to the lowest level in six months in U.S. trading on concern a more flexible yuan will erode foreign-exchange gains.
The MSCI Asia Pacific Index (MXAP) rose 9.1 percent this year through yesterday, compared with an 8.9 percent gain by the S&P 500 and a 4 percent advance by the Stoxx Europe 600 Index. Stocks in the Asian benchmark are valued at 12.6 times estimated earnings on average, compared with 13.1 times for the S&P 500 and 10.6 times for the Stoxx 600.
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