Japanese stock futures and Australian equities were little changed ahead of a presidential election in the U.S. and before the Reserve Bank of Australia releases its interest-rate decision.
American Depositary Receipts of Toyota Motor Corp. gained 1.7 percent as Japan’s largest manufacturer raised its profit forecast. Shares of NTN Corp., a bearing maker, may be active in Tokyo after it forecast a loss, reversing its previous estimate for a full-year profit. Australia & New Zealand Banking Group Ltd. (ANZ), Australia’s third-largest bank by market value, advanced 0.4 percent before the RBA statement.
Futures on Japan’s Nikkei 225 Stock Average expiring in December closed at 9,015 in Chicago yesterday, down from 9,020 in Osaka, Japan. They were bid in the pre-market at 9,000 in Osaka at 8:05 a.m. local time. Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 Index was little changed today and New Zealand’s NZX 50 Index rose 0.4 percent in Wellington.
“Market participants are struggling to pick a direction ahead of the U.S. presidential elections,” said Stan Shamu, market strategist at IG Markets in Melbourne. “Whatever the outcome of today’s rate decision in Australia, the statement will probably carry more weight.”
Interest-rate swaps data compiled by Bloomberg indicate traders see a 53 percent chance RBA Governor Glenn Stevens will lower the overnight cash rate target by 25 basis points today. Twenty of 27 economists in a Bloomberg survey forecast a quarter-percentage point reduction. The decision is due at 2:30 p.m. Sydney time.
Futures on the Standard & Poor’s 500 Index slipped 0.1 percent today. Voting starts today for Americans deciding between giving President Barack Obama another four years in office or changing course with Republican challenger Mitt Romney.
The MSCI Asia Pacific (MXAP) Index gained 12 percent through yesterday from this year’s low on June 4 as central banks added stimulus amid a slowdown in global economic growth and the European debt crisis. Shares on the measure trade at 13.4 times average estimated earnings, compared with 13.6 for the Standard & Poor’s 500 Index and 12.2 for the Stoxx Europe 600 Index.
The Bloomberg China-US Equity Index of the most-traded Chinese shares in New York added 0.5 percent to 95.28 yesterday.
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