Japanese and Australian stock futures rose as reports showed U.S. home sales and durable goods orders climbed more than estimated, overshadowing concern Europe’s debt crisis will worsen.
American depositary receipts of Honda Motor Co. (7267), a Japanese carmaker that gets almost 45 percent of its sales in North America, rose 0.7 percent from the closing share price in Tokyo. Shares of Konica Minolta Holdings Inc. may be active on a Nikkei newspaper report the photographic-film maker’s first-quarter operating profit may rise by about 70 percent. ADRs of BHP Billiton Ltd. (BHP), Australia’s biggest oil producer and the world’s No. 1 mining company by market value, added 0.6 percent after crude and metal prices increased.
Futures on Japan’s Nikkei 225 Stock Average expiring in September closed at 8,785 in Chicago yesterday, up from 8,740 in Osaka, Japan. They were bid in the pre-market at 8,790 in Osaka at 8:05 a.m. local time. Futures on Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 Index rose 0.7 percent today. New Zealand’s NZX 50 Index added 0.2 percent in Wellington.
“The U.S. economy remains in a recovering trend,” Mitsushige Akino, who oversees about $627 million in Tokyo at Ichiyoshi Asset Management Co. “Some deteriorating data, such as manufacturing, has been already factored into the market. Also, individual investors are buying companies counting on domestic demand and low-priced equities. That’s supporting the markets.”
Futures on the Standard & Poor’s 500 Index were little changed today. The gauge gained 0.9 percent in New York yesterday as orders for durable goods and the number of Americans signing contracts to buy an existing home rebounded in May. The index of pending home resales climbed 5.9 percent after a 5.5 percent decline in April, the National Association of Realtors reported. Economists forecast a 1.5 percent gain.
Orders for durable goods climbed more than forecast in May, easing concern that U.S. manufacturing is faltering. Bookings rose 1.1 percent, a Commerce Department report showed. The median forecast of economists surveyed by Bloomberg News called for a 0.5 percent gain.
In Europe, German Chancellor Angela Merkel shut the door to joint euro-area bonds as a means of lowering Spain’s borrowing costs, saying they are the “wrong way” to achieve the greater European integration needed to stem the debt crisis. Speaking three hours after Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy made a plea for help from today’s European summit, Merkel said that euro bonds, euro bills and debt redemption funds are unconstitutional in Germany and economically “wrong and counterproductive.”
Crude oil for August delivery gained 1.1 percent to $80.21 a barrel in New York, the highest settlement in a week. The London Metal Exchange Index of prices for six industrial metals including copper and aluminum climbed 0.6 percent yesterday, biggest gain since June 19.
The Bloomberg China-US 55 Index (CH55BN) of the most-traded Chinese equities in the U.S gained 1.1 percent to 89.95 in New York yesterday. Giant Interactive Group Inc. surged the most since April on prospects the government will take steps to shore up flagging growth in Asia’s largest economy.
The MSCI Asia Pacific Index (MXAP) rose 0.2 percent this year through yesterday, compared with a 5.9 percent advance by the S&P 500 and a 0.5 percent increase by the Stoxx Europe 600 Index. Stocks in the Asian benchmark are valued at 11.7 times estimated earnings on average, compared with 12.8 times for the S&P 500 and 10.3 times for the Stoxx 600.
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