Japanese and Australian stock futures fell as concern mounted about Greece’s future in the euro and U.S. home sales fell, dimming the outlook for Asian exporters.
American depositary receipts of Sony Corp. (6758), Japan’s No. 1 exporter of consumer electronics that gets 38 percent of its sales in Europe and the U.S., lost 2 percent from the closing share price in Tokyo. Those of Mitsubishi UFJ Financial Group Inc. (8306), Japan’s biggest lender, fell 2.4 percent. ADRs of Woodside Petroleum Ltd. (WPL), Australia’s No. 2 oil and gas producer, slid 1.5 percent after oil declined.
Futures on Japan’s Nikkei 225 Stock Average (NKY) expiring in June closed at 8,500 in Chicago yesterday, down from 8,610 in Osaka, Japan. They were bid in the pre-market at 8,500 in Osaka at 8:05 a.m. local time. Futures on Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 Index dropped 1.1 percent today. New Zealand’s NZX 50 Index lost 0.4 percent in Wellington.
“The market is genuinely worried about the potential disorderly default and exit by Greece and what that means in terms of contagion risks,” said Prasad Patkar, who helps manage about $1 billion at Platypus Asset Management Ltd. in Sydney. “It will have to be a response by governments and the central bank to stem the panic in the market.”
Futures on the Standard & Poor’s 500 Index (SPXL1) were little changed today. The index fell 1.4 percent in New York yesterday after a report showed the number of Americans signing contracts to buy previously owned homes fell in April by the most in a year.
Stocks fell as an opinion poll showed most Greeks want to see the terms of a financial rescue revised, stoking fears the nation may default and be forced to exit the euro. Separately, the European Central Bank denied it has rejected a plan floated by the Spanish government to recapitalize Bankia group.
New York oil futures fell 3.2 percent and Brent oil traded in London settled below $104 a barrel for the first time this year.
Shares of major Japanese exporters such as Toyota Motor Corp. may be active after the yen rose against all of its 16 counterparts yesterday, reaching a three-month high against the dollar. A stronger yen cuts the competitiveness of the exporters abroad.
A government report today is forecast to show Japan’s industrial production rose 0.5 percent in April after gaining 1.3 percent in March. The report is due at 8:50 a.m. Tokyo time.
The MSCI Asia Pacific Index (MXAP) declined 0.8 percent this year through yesterday, compared with a 4.4 percent gain by the S&P 500 and a 1.6 percent loss by the Stoxx Europe 600 Index. Stocks in the Asian benchmark are valued at 11.6 times estimated earnings on average, compared with 12.5 times for the S&P 500 and 10 times for the Stoxx 600.
Chinese equities traded in New York fell, extending the benchmark index’s loss this month to the largest since September, on speculation a manufacturing report tomorrow will signal Asia’s largest economy is slowing. The Bloomberg China-US Equity Index fell 2.7 percent to 90.95 yesterday in New York, taking its in May to 12 percent.
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