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Australian Stocks Head for Longest Win Streak Since 2003

Australian stocks rose, with the benchmark poised for its longest winning streak since 2003, as higher metals prices boosted mining companies. Japanese stock futures were little changed.

BHP Billiton Ltd. (BHP), the world’s largest mining company, gained 0.9 percent. American Depositary Receipts of Komatsu Ltd. lost 2.6 percent as the world’s second-biggest maker of excavators and dump trucks cut its full-year earnings forecast on slumping sales in Southeast Asia and China. Softbank Corp. (9984) shares may gain after Dish Network Corp. said it won’t seek regulatory action to block its purchase of Sprint Nextel Corp. Yahoo Japan Corp. shares may be active after increasing sales and profits forecasts.

Futures on Japan’s Nikkei 225 Stock Average (NKY) expiring in March closed at 10,900 in Chicago yesterday, up from 10,890 at the close in Osaka. They were bid in the pre-market at 10,890 in Osaka at 8:05 a.m. Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 Index (AS51) gained 0.2 percent, gaining for a tenth day. New Zealand’s NZX 50 Index gained 0.4 percent.

“The pain trade is fear that you are going to miss out on the rally,” said Bob Van Munster, head of Australian equities at Tyndall Investment Management Ltd. in Sydney, which oversees about $24 billion. “Corporates will still be very circumspect and cautious. The market can’t push on without earnings upgrades.”

Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 is poised for its longest rising streak since October 2003. Investors are moving into equities as the Reserve Bank of Australia undertakes the most aggressive interest-rate cuts among advanced economies, sapping the allure of bonds as yields decline. The S&P/ASX 200’s forecast dividend yield of 4.5 is the highest among the world’s 10 largest equity markets, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.

Futures on the Standard & Poor’s 500 Index (SPX) were little changed today. The gauge yesterday climbed 0.5 percent and the Dow Jones Industrial Average advanced to a five-year high as companies including Pfizer Inc. and Valero Energy Corp. beat earnings estimates.

The Bloomberg China-US Equity Index (CH55BN) of the most-traded Chinese shares in the U.S. rose 0.9 percent to 100.61 in New York yesterday.

The MSCI Asia Pacific Index, the benchmark regional equities gauge, traded at 14.4 times average estimated earnings compared with 13.6 for the Standard & Poor’s 500 Index and 12.3 for the Stoxx Europe 600 Index, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.

To contact the reporter on this story: Adam Haigh in Sydney at ahaigh1@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Nick Gentle at ngentle2@bloomberg.net

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