Japanese and Australian stock futures rose after the International Monetary Fund raised economic forecasts and Spain sold more debt than targeted, boosting the earnings outlook for Asian exporters.
American depositary receipts of Sony Corp., Japan’s No. 1 exporter of consumer electronics that gets a fifth of its revenue in Europe, added 1.4 percent from the closing share price in Tokyo. Those of Sumitomo Mitsui Financial Group Inc. (8316), Japan’s second-biggest lender by market value, rose 2 percent. ADRs of BHP Billiton Ltd. (BHP), the world’s largest mining company and Australia’s No. 1 oil producer, advanced 1.1 percent after metal and oil prices gained.
Futures on Japan’s Nikkei 225 Stock Average (NKY) expiring in June closed at 9,600 in Chicago yesterday, up from 9,450 in Osaka, Japan. They were bid in the pre-market at 9,610 in Osaka at 8:05 a.m. local time. Futures on Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 Index added 1.2 percent today. New Zealand’s NZX 50 Index gained 0.5 percent in Wellington.
“The environment for equities is pretty good,” said Donald Williams, chief investment officer at Platypus Asset Management Ltd. in Sydney, which manages about $1 billion. “Even though 2012 is going to be a tough year because most of Europe will be in recession for a large part of this calendar year, you are still looking at a global growth rate of 3.5 percent, which is a pretty decent growth rate.”
IMF Growth Forecast
Futures on the Standard & Poor’s 500 Index (SPXL1) were little changed today. The index gained 1.6 percent in New York yesterday after the IMF raised its 2012 global growth estimate to 3.5 percent and Spanish bonds gained following a bill sale. Expectations that Europe’s debt crisis is stabilizing outweighed data that showed production at U.S. factories dropped in March for the first time in four months and builders broke ground on fewer houses than forecast.
The London Metal Exchange Index of prices for six industrial metals including copper and aluminum rose 0.8 percent yesterday. Crude oil for May delivery advanced $1.27 to $104.20 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange, the highest settlement since April 2.
The Bloomberg China-US Equity Index of the most-traded Chinese shares in the U.S. climbed 1.2 percent yesterday to 102.80.
The MSCI Asia Pacific Index (MXAP) advanced 8.6 percent this year through yesterday, compared with a 10.6 percent gain by the S&P 500 and a 6.1 percent increase by the Stoxx Europe 600 Index. Stocks in the Asian benchmark are valued at 12.6 times estimated earnings on average, compared with 13.3 times for the S&P 500 and 10.8 times for the Stoxx 600.
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