Japanese shares rose, with the Topix index (TPX) capping its second weekly advance, as financial shares and exporters climbed.
Consumer lenders and brokerages advanced the most among the 33 Topix subsectors, gaining at least 1.3 percent. Electronics makers provided the biggest boost to the gauge. Sharp Corp. surged 8.4 percent on a report it will increase production of liquid-crystal display panels for smartphones. SoftBank (9984) Corp. closed at its highest in more than 13 years after activist investor Daniel Loeb’s hedge fund disclosed a $1 billion stake in the mobile carrier.
The Topix rose 0.2 percent to 1,248.57 at the close in Tokyo, after sliding as much as 0.3 percent and advancing as much as 1 percent. The measure added 0.8 percent over the past five days after climbing 5.3 percent last week. The Nikkei 225 Stock Average increased 0.1 percent to 15,381.72, 1.6 percent short of its highest close this year on May 22. The yen swung between gains and losses against the dollar.
“When markets approach previous highs, investors get cautious and it’s very easy to see selling,” said Hideyuki Suzuki, a senior market analyst at brokerage SBI Securities Co. in Tokyo. “People are closing positions before the weekend.”
Futures on the Standard & Poor’s 500 Index were little changed today. The gauge gained 0.8 percent yesterday, snapping a three-day decline, and the Dow Jones Industrial Average closed above 16,000 for the first time. The S&P 500 is poised for its best yearly gain in a decade.
Data showed U.S. jobless claims dropped by 21,000 to 323,000 last week, the fewest applications since September. The median forecast of 47 economists surveyed by Bloomberg News was for a drop to 335,000.
The Topix Other Financing Business Index, which includes consumer lenders among its members, advanced 1.9 percent. Orix Corp. added 4.1 percent to 1,844 yen, its highest level since 2008. Acom Co. rose 3.5 percent to 386 yen.
A gauge tracking brokerages climbed 1.3 percent, the second-biggest gain among the Topix groups. Nomura Holdings Inc. (8604), Japan’s biggest securities company, rose 0.9 percent to 815 yen, while Daiwa Securities Group Inc., the No. 2, increased 2 percent to 1,022 yen.
Exporters gained at the yen traded beyond 101 per dollar. The Topix Electric Appliances Index rose 1.1 percent to 1,494.56, the biggest boost to the Topix. Toyota Motor Corp. (7203), the world’s biggest carmaker, climbed 1 percent to 6,340 yen. Canon Inc., which makes cameras, added 1.1 percent to 3,285 yen.
Sharp jumped 8.4 percent to 322 yen, the most since July 2 and the biggest advance on the Nikkei 225. The company will ramp up production of LCD screens for smartphones and produce panels for companies other than Apple Inc. at its Kameyama Plant No. 1, the Nikkei newspaper reported.
SoftBank rose 2.3 percent to 8,150 yen for the single-biggest boost to the Nikkei 225. Loeb’s Third Point LLC, disclosed the $1 billion SoftBank stake at the Robin Hood Foundation’s investor conference in New York yesterday, according to a spokesperson for the U.S. investment firm. Earlier this year Loeb pushed for a spinoff of a portion of Sony Corp.’s entertainment unit.
Among stocks that fell, Nippon Light Metal Holdings Co. slipped 2.9 percent to 134 yen. The aluminum producer is selling 15 billion yen of convertible bonds overseas.
Shares on the Topix traded at 1.26 times book value today, compared with 2.59 for the S&P 500 and 1.79 for the Stoxx Europe 600 Index yesterday. The Japanese measure’s 30-day volatility was 15.34 today, down from its five-year median of 19.
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