Japanese stock futures rose after the Federal Reserve said it will pump fresh stimulus if necessary into the world’s biggest economy. Australian futures fell as the central bank’s pledge disappointed some investors anticipating a more definitive sign of further easing.
American depositary receipts of Sony Corp. (6758), Japan’s No. 1 exporter of consumer electronics, rose 1.2 percent from the closing share price in Tokyo after the yen retreated from a two- month high against the dollar. Those of Mizuho Financial Group Inc. (8411), Japan’s third-largest bank by market value, added 0.5 percent. ADRs of Westpac Banking Corp. (WBC), Australia’s No. 2 lender by market value, fell 0.3 percent.
Futures on Japan’s Nikkei 225 Stock Average (NKY) expiring in September closed at 8,670 in Chicago yesterday, up from 8,630 in Osaka, Japan. They were bid in the pre-market at 8,660 in Osaka at 8:05 a.m. local time. Futures on Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 Index slid 0.2 percent today. New Zealand’s NZX 50 Index was little changed in Wellington. Taiwan’s financial markets will be closed today due to a typhoon.
“People would like the Fed to do more because I think it would improve the market sentiment a little bit,” said Angus Gluskie, managing director at White Funds Management in Sydney who manages more than $350 million. “But I think the fact that the Fed is not doing anything and still saying they remain prepared to, it’s not a huge negative. I think it’s neutral.”
Futures on the Standard & Poor’s 500 Index (SPXL1) rose 0.1 percent today. The index dropped 0.3 percent in New York yesterday, when the Fed refrained from adding to record stimulus even as economic growth slowed.
The Fed’s inaction pushed up the dollar against the yen as traders pared bets on further monetary policy easing. The yen fell 0.4 percent to 78.44 per dollar yesterday after touching 77.91, the strongest since June 1. A weaker yen enhances the value of overseas earnings at Japanese exporters when repatriated.
A report showed yesterday manufacturing in the U.S. unexpectedly contracted for a second month in July, indicating a mainstay of the economy was struggling to improve.
U.S. payrolls may have increased by 100,000 workers in July, following an 80,000 gain in June, according to the median forecast of economists surveyed by Bloomberg News ahead of Labor Department figures Aug. 3. The unemployment rate is projected to hold at 8.2 percent.
The MSCI Asia Pacific Index (MXAP) fell 8.3 percent from this year’s high on Feb. 29 through yesterday amid concern Europe’s sovereign-debt crisis will worsen as the U.S. and Chinese economies slow. The regional benchmark index traded at 12 times estimated earnings, compared with 13.4 for the Standard & Poor’s 500 Index and 11.2 for the Stoxx Europe 600 Index, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.
The European Central Bank meets today, with President Mario Draghi pledging policy makers will do whatever is needed to preserve the euro.
The Bloomberg China-US Equity Index of the most-traded Chinese companies in the U.S. dropped 0.5 percent to 86.36 yesterday in New York.
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