A rally in metals burnished the outlook for Asian stocks, with index futures foreshadowing gains from Japan to Australia ahead of data on Chinese industrial company profits.
Futures on equity gauges in the region climbed at least 0.1 percent after signs that China may act to prop up metals prices saw copper to zinc and aluminum jump to their highest levels in at least a week. U.S. index futures rallied Thursday with most other markets there closed for Thanksgiving, while oil retreated in electronic trading. The dollar held on to gains near a seven-month high versus the euro as investors mulled the outlook for American interest rates and the potential for further global monetary policy divergence.
While trading was muted given the U.S. holiday, metals led market gains Thursday, with their advance bolstering equities from Europe to Canada. Prospects China that may intervene in the domestic metals industry to stop excessive short selling underpinned price gains, with the largest copper and nickel suppliers planning to meet this week to weigh their response to the slump in prices, according to people with knowledge of the matter. With concern over China’s slowdown weighing on commodities this year, Friday’s profits data will garner particular attention, along with an update on Japanese consumer prices.
New Zealand’s S&P/NZX 50 Index added 0.1 percent as of 7:49 a.m. Tokyo time, rising for a second day to be headed for a 1.4 percent advance in the week.
In Japan, futures on the Nikkei 225 Stock Average were up 0.3 percent to 20,000 in Osaka, while contracts on Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 index gained 0.3 percent despite losses in London-traded stock of BHP Billiton Ltd., the world’s biggest mining company. The shares fell 2.4 percent Thursday after the United Nations said waste from a deadly mine spill in Brazil was toxic and BHP, along with its partner in the project Vale SA, hadn’t taken sufficient steps to prevent harm.
Futures on Hong Kong’s Hang Seng Index added 0.4 percent in most recent trading, while those on the Hang Seng China Enterprises Index, a gauge of mainland stocks listed in the city, were up 0.5 percent. Futures on the Kospi index in Seoul gained 0.1 percent as contracts on the FTSE China A50 Index rose 0.3 percent.
The Shanghai Composite Index is headed for a second week of gains, with the measure having pared its losses since China’s shock currency devaluation in August roiled global markets.
Taiwan also issues a final reading on third-quarter gross domestic product Friday, while U.S. markets close early.