Miles Says U.K. Economic Slack May Exceed BOE Central Forecast


Japanese index futures climbed before the nation’s central bank reports on monetary policy while a profit boost for BHP (BHP) Billiton Ltd. drove gains in Australian stocks. Silver extended its rally into a 13th day.

Nikkei 225 Stock Average futures were bid 0.5 percent above yesterday’s close by 8:05 a.m. in the Osaka pre-market, after the gauge snapped a two-day drop yesterday. The yen weakened a second day. BHP rose to an almost one-year high in Sydney, helping Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 Index up 0.2 percent. Standard & Poor’s 500 Index futures gained 0.2 percent with U.S. markets to resume after yesterday’s holiday. Silver added 0.9 percent, furthering its longest run of daily gains since at least 1968.

The Bank of Japan issues a policy statement today, while Australia’s central bank releases minutes of its Feb. 4 meeting, where Governor Glenn Stevens signaled the end of his two-year easing cycle. In the U.S., bond and equity markets resume ahead of the Empire State manufacturing survey and an industry housing index. The U.K. reports on inflation and producer prices. BHP, the world’s largest mining company, said today that first-half profit rose 31 percent, beating analysts’ estimates.

“The positive equity momentum of the past week remains robust,” Evan Lucas, a markets strategist inMelbourne for IG Ltd., wrote in an e-mail to clients. “As the most dovish central bank in the world, this morning’s BOJ press conference will be interesting as there have been signs of life in inflation, its no. 1 mandate for the stimulus program.”

Nikkei 225 futures were bid at 14,490 in the pre-market today, after the gauge rose 0.6 percent to 14,393.11 yesterday. The broader Topix Index gained 0.7 percent yesterday after six weeks of losses.

BHP Earnings

The yen lost 0.2 percent to 102.11 per dollar by 8:24 a.m. in Tokyo, after strengthening 0.5 percent versus the greenback last week.

BHP climbed a ninth day in Sydney, adding 1.2 percent to be headed for the highest close since Feb. 20, 2013. Underlying profit rose to $7.8 billion in the six months to Dec. 31, the Melbourne-based company said in a statement today, exceeding the median analyst forecast for $6.9 billion on higher iron-ore earnings and lower costs.

Futures on on South Korea’s Kospi Index (KOSPI) gained 0.1 percent in most recent trading, while Hang Seng Index futures were little changed after the measure jumped 1.1 percent yesterday. Contracts on the Hang Seng China Enterprises Index of mainland Chinese equities listed in Hong Kong fell 0.1 percent.

China is scheduled to report foreign direct investment figures today, with analysts surveyed by Bloomberg predicting an increase of 2.5 percent for January, down from 3.3 percent in December. Data showing new credit rose to a record in January helped fuel stock and industrial-metal gains yesterday. Copper, nickel, zinc and lead rose at least 0.3 percent in London.

RBA Minutes

Australia’s dollar, known as the Aussie, was little changed, buying 90.34 U.S. cents before the Reserve Bankof Australia’s minutes release. Yields on government bonds due in a decade rose two basis points, or 0.02 percentage point, to 4.18 percent after climbing six basis points yesterday.

Italy’s 10-year bond yield fell seven basis points to 3.61 percent yesterday, the lowest level since January 2006. Matteo Renzi — the mayor of Florence and leader of the Democratic Party — was picked to form a government and set about working to build a parliamentary majority after outlining a 100-day legislative program.

Silver climbed to $21.8875 an ounce, headed for the highest close since Oct. 31. Gold was little changed at $1,331.97 an ounce in early trading after climbing as much as 1.5 percent yesterday to $1,337.93, the highest intraday level since October.

Gold tumbled the most since 1981 last year after some investors lost faith in the metal as a store of value and as U.S. policy makers signaled they will slow stimulatory bond purchases. Bullion rebounded 10 percent this year.