Asian Futures Drop With U.S. Stocks; Aussie Holds Losses

Asian index futures retreated with U.S. stocks after a surge in global equities, while the dollar held its surge against currencies of commodity-producing nations.

Futures on stock indexes from Japan to Australia slipped as contracts on Hong Kong’s Hang Seng China Enterprises Index, which reached an almost seven-year high Monday, fell 0.4 percent. U.S. index futures were little changed by 8:46 a.m. in Tokyo, after the Standard & Poor’s 500 Index snapped a three-day climb. The Australian dollar was steady after sinking 1.2 percent Monday. U.S. oil maintained gains at $ 52.04 a barrel.

An unexpected slump in Chinese exports fueled speculation officials in Asia’s largest economy will bolster stimulus, with data Wednesday projected to show growth last quarter was the slowest since the global recession. Singapore and Indonesia review monetary policy Tuesday, ahead of euro-area industrial output and U.S. retail sales data. Global equity values exceeded $ 70 trillion last week amid gains in European and Asian markets.

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“Clearly, investors are waiting for the next set of clues of how the global economy is evolving,” Matthew Sherwood, head of investment markets research in Sydney at Perpetual Ltd., which manages about $ 21 billion, wrote in an e-mail. “The data absence overnight meant they decided to take profits even though the U.S. reporting season is set to move into a higher gear in the next two days.”

The S&P 500 and technology-heavy Nasdaq Composite Index rose to within 0.7 percent of records Monday before retreating from those levels as investors awaited earnings this week from JPMorgan Chase & Co. and Johnson & Johnson to Intel Corp.

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Hong Kong

Profits at U.S. companies are forecast to fall 5.6 percent in the first quarter amid concern over the impact of the strong dollar and lower oil prices. At the same time, the Federal Reserve is looking to raise benchmark borrowing costs for the first time since 2006. The Stoxx Europe 600 Index added 0.2 percent Monday to extend its all-time high.

The Hang Seng China Enterprises gauge, which tracks mainland Chinese shares listed in Hong Kong, is leading global gains the past five days, rallying amid demand from mainland investors who buy and sell via an exchange link. Citigroup Inc. to Credit Suisse Group AG have been boosting their forecasts for Hong Kong stocks, with the benchmark Hang Seng Index at its highest level since December 2007.

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Futures on the Enterprises index fell to 14,552 in most recent trading, while contracts on the Hang Seng were little changed with Singapore-traded futures on the FTSE China A50 Index.

Japan Moves

The MSCI Asia Pacific Index climbed 0.2 percent yesterday, fueled by gains in Hong Kong shares, to its highest close since May 2008. A gauge of emerging-market shares jumped 0.7 percent Monday in an 11th day of gains, the longest rally in 10 years.

The Hong Kong Monetary Authority injected HK$ 6.2 billion ($ 800 million) into the banking system Monday to prevent the Hong Kong dollar from strengthening beyond its fixed exchange rate amid inflows into the stock market.

Nikkei 225 Stock Average futures were bid down 0.4 percent at 19,850 on the Osaka pre-market, while yen-denominated contracts on the Chicago Mercantile Exchange were little changed after dropping 0.9 percent Monday. Futures on South Korea’s Kospi gauge fell 0.2 percent as contracts on the S&P/ASX 200 Index in Sydney retreated 0.3 percent. New Zealand’s NZX 50 Index was up 0.1 percent.

China Impact

The Aussie traded at 75.88 U.S. cents, close to a six-year low set April 2 after sliding as much as 1.7 percent Monday after the Chinese trade data. The New Zealand dollar was little changed at 74.62 U.S. cents following a 1.1 percent drop. Both countries count China as their biggest trading partner. Most industrial metals retreated in London Monday after the Chinese report, and the Bloomberg Commodity Index lost 0.4 percent.

“The Chinese economy is slowing down to more sustainable rates, but they’re also recalibrating their economy away from investment toward more consumption-driven,” said Peter Dragicevich, a foreign-exchange strategist at Commonwealth Bank of Australia in London. “That’s going to keep the terms of trade in Australia on the back foot.”

China’s gross domestic product probably expanded by 7 percent last quarter from a year earlier, down from growth of 7.3 percent in the previous period, according to the median of 44 economists’ estimates compiled by Bloomberg before Wednesday’s data. China is also due to report on lending, money supply and aggregate financing by April 15.

The yuan was at 6.2270 per dollar in offshore trading, after losing 0.2 percent last session.

Dollar Index

The Bloomberg Dollar Spot Index, a gauge of the currency against 10 major peers, was little changed after rising 0.3 percent Monday in a third day of gains. The greenback was steady at $ 1.0574 per euro, following six days of appreciation.

Japan’s yen was little changed at 120.08 per dollar after slipping as much as 0.5 percent Monday. The currency is weak at the 120 level given its purchasing power parity, said Koichi Hamada, an adviser to Prime Minister Shinzo Abe on monetary policy.

One-month non-deliverable forwards on India’s rupee were at 62.76 per dollar after slipping 0.4 percent Monday. India, where markets are closed Tuesday for a holiday, reported an unexpected easing in retail inflation, bolstering speculation the central bank will cut interest rates outside of its review cycle for a third time this year. Markets in Thailand are also closed, through Wednesday.

West Texas Intermediate crude added 0.3 percent after rising 0.5 percent Monday, as skepticism among U.S. lawmakers over a nuclear deal with Iran signaled that a recovery in crude exports from the OPEC producer may be delayed.

Gold, Bonds

U.S. President Barack Obama is dispatching three cabinet members to brief lawmakers as a Senate committee prepares to take up a bill that will give Congress 60 days to review any final agreement with Iran.

Gold was little changed at $ 1,198.92 an ounce after slipping 0.7 percent Monday, its fourth retreat in five days, as the dollar advanced and investors weighed the outlook for U.S. borrowing costs. Yields on 10-year U.S. Treasuries fell two basis points, or 0.02 percentage point, to 1.93 percent Monday.

Recent U.S. economic data has missed projections by the most in six years, clouding the outlook for earnings while bolstering the case for keeping interest rates lower for longer. Reports on retail sales and industrial production in March are due this week, along with housing starts. Fed officials next meet April 28-29 to discuss monetary policy.

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