Japanese and Australian stock futures were little changed as investors await policy announcements by the Federal Reserve and the European Central Bank amid signs of a global economic slowdown.
American depositary receipts of Australia & New Zealand Banking Group Ltd. (ANZ), the Australia’s third-largest lender, rose 0.4 percent from the closing share price in Sydney. Those of Toyota Motor Corp. (7203), Asia’s biggest carmaker by market value, fell 0.3 percent. Shares of Nippon Yusen K.K. (9101) may be active as Japan’s No. 1 shipping line by sales is scheduled to report earnings today.
Futures on Japan’s Nikkei 225 Stock Average (NKY) expiring in September closed at 8,620 in Chicago yesterday compared with 8,610 in Osaka, Japan. They were bid in the pre-market at 8,620 in Osaka at 8:05 a.m. local time. Futures on Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 Index added 0.1 percent today. New Zealand’s NZX 50 Index was little changed in Wellington.
“At the moment, the markets are really focused on central bank actions rather than the economic environment,” said Matthew Sherwood, Perpetual Investments’ head of investment markets research in Sydney. Perpetual manages about $25 billion. “We may get a little bit of sell-down in Asian equities after pretty good rises.”
Futures on the Standard & Poor’s 500 Index (SPXL1) added 0.1 percent today. The index fell less than 0.1 percent in New York yesterday, snapping a two-day rally, ahead of an Aug. 3 report that may show the pace of hiring in July failed to reduce the U.S. jobless rate.
The Federal Open Market Committee will announce a policy decision tomorrow, and the European Central Bank will convene on Aug. 2. U.S. Treasury Secretary Timothy F. Geithner and German Finance Minister Wolfgang Schaeuble backed a commitment by European leaders to do everything needed to defend the euro area while failing to mention its weakest link, Greece.
The MSCI Asia Pacific Index (MXAP) fell 9 percent from this year’s high on Feb. 29 through yesterday amid concern Europe’s sovereign-debt crisis will worsen and China’s economy is slowing. The regional benchmark index traded at 11.9 times estimated earnings, compared with 13.5 for the Standard & Poor’s 500 Index and 11.2 for the Stoxx Europe 600 Index, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.
Of the 1,007 companies listed on the Asian benchmark gauge, 264 firms are scheduled to post earnings this week, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. Of the 166 companies to have reported so far and for which Bloomberg had earnings estimates, more than half failed to meet the projection, the data show. Earnings per share at companies on the index are expected to grow 20 percent this fiscal year.
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