Japan’s Topix Index Caps Longest Winning Streak This Year

Japanese shares rose, with the Topix (TPX) index capping its longest winning streak this year, as the yen held near the lowest level in five weeks and after data showed fewer U.S. workers filed for unemployment.

Sony Corp. (6758), which gets about 70 percent of revenue abroad, gained 1 percent. TDK Corp. climbed 2.2 percent after Mizuho Securities Co. raised its outlook on the component maker’s shares. A gauge of paper makers was the only sector to decline among the Topix’s 33 industry groups.

The Topix climbed 0.7 percent to 1,236.97 at the close in Tokyo. The measure posted its fourth straight day of gains today, the longest advance since Dec. 30, and added 2.1 percent this week. The Nikkei 225 Stock Average rose 0.9 percent to 15,274.07. The yen slid 0.8 percent yesterday to 103.07 and strengthened 0.1 percent today.

“The Japanese share market has underperformed for the past couple of months, but the underlying strengths are still there and Japan will outperform again,” said Nader Naeimi, Sydney-based head of dynamic asset allocation at AMP Capital, which manages $131 billion. “The numbers from the U.S. are starting to ease concerns about a soft patch in the economy. There are indications that the soft patch was short-term.”

The Topix fell 5 percent this year, the biggest drop among major developed markets according to data compiled by Bloomberg, after surging 51 percent last year. The gauge traded at 1.21 times book value, compared with 2.62 for the Standard & Poor’s 500 Index and 1.89 for the Stoxx Europe 600 Index yesterday. Volume on the Japanese gauge was 20 percent below the 30-day average today.

U.S. Jobs

Futures on the S&P 500 climbed 0.1 percent. The equity gauge rose to an all-time high yesterday as data showed jobless claims fell to the lowest level in three months and investors watched developments in Ukraine.

Fewer Americans than projected filed applications for unemployment benefits last week, an indication companies are holding on to staff even as cold weather threatens to slow the world’s largest economy. The Labor Department will release its February jobs report today.

The yen headed for a 1.2 percent drop against the dollar this week after touching its weakest since January.

The Topix Electric Appliance Index of consumer electronic makers added 0.7 percent, the biggest boost to the broader gauge. Sony gained 1 percent to 1,844 yen. Carmakers provided the second-biggest lift, with Mazda Motor Corp. rising 2.7 percent to 493 yen.

“Blue chips and exporters will be bought because of the weaker yen,” said Toshiaki Iwasaki, an analyst at Mito Securities Co. Ltd. in Tokyo. “There’s a wait-and-see mood among investors about what the U.S. jobs report will bring. Also shares rebounded this week so some investors will want to take profits.”

TDK Upgraded

Among other shares that rose, TDK gained 2.2 percent to 4,565 yen, its highest close since Jan. 31. The semiconductor device maker was boosted to buy from neutral by Mizuho, with a 12-month price target of 5,400 yen.

The Topix Pulp & Paper Index slid 0.1 percent. Nippon Paper Industries Co. fell 1.7 percent to 2,055 yen, the biggest drop on the Nikkei 225.

To contact the reporter on this story: Anna Kitanaka in Tokyo at akitanaka@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Sarah McDonald at smcdonald23@bloomberg.net

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