Japanese stocks rose for a fourth day, the longest winning streak since July, with carmakers advancing as U.S. consumer spending rose more than forecast. Japan’s parliament today confirmed Finance Minister Yoshihiko Noda as the next prime minister.
Honda Motor Co., which gets 40 percent of its revenue from North America, climbed 1 percent after U.S. auto sales increased and Federal Reserve Chairman Ben S. Bernanke last week indicated the U.S. economy may not need more stimulus. Sony Corp. gained 3.5 percent after the Yomiuri newspaper reported it will form a venture to produce liquid-crystal displays with Toshiba Corp. and Hitachi Ltd.
The Nikkei 225 Stock Average rose 1.2 percent to 8,953.90 as of the 3 p.m. trading close in Tokyo. The broader Topix index advanced 1.1 percent to 767.30. For the month through yesterday, the Nikkei fell 8.9 percent, set for the biggest monthly loss since May 2010, while the Topix was down 8.8 percent.
“U.S. economic data have lifted the mood,” said Ayako Sera, a market strategist at Sumitomo Trust & Banking Co., which manages the equivalent of $325 billion. “The market is regaining confidence after Bernanke tried to not stoke pessimism in his speech.”
The lower house of parliament elected Noda prime minister after the ruling Democratic Party of Japan yesterday chose him to succeed Naoto Kan. As Kan’s finance minister, Noda advocated an increase in levies to help finance disaster reconstruction, something opposed by his challengers in the race.
Futures on the Standard & Poor’s 500 Index fell 0.1 percent today. In New York, the index rose 2.8 percent yesterday after the reports showing rising consumer spending and incomes overshadowed a drop in pending home sales, easing concern the U.S. is slipping into a recession.
Purchases rose 0.8 percent, the biggest gain since February, Commerce Department figures showed. Incomes grew 0.3 percent and the savings rate dropped to a four-month low as Americans dipped into their savings to buy cars and home appliances. The number of contracts to purchase previously owned homes fell in July for the first time in three months.
“Japan is ready to tackle various tasks such as reconstruction at least for the next year,” said Takashi Hiroki, chief strategist at Monex Securities in Tokyo. “The U.S. economy isn’t as bad as people had worried. The market has hit the bottom on speculation the economy can avoid the worst kind of recession due to the Federal Reserve’s policy.”
Automakers advanced with Honda rising 1 percent to 2,438 yen. Toyota Motor Corp., the world’s biggest carmaker, advanced 0.2 percent to 2,721 yen.
Exporters rose and the electric appliances sector gave the biggest support to the Topix index. Canon Inc., the world’s biggest camera maker, climbed 0.9 percent to 3,575 yen. Sony, Japan’s No. 1 exporter of consumer electronics, gained 3.5 percent to 1,695 yen.
Sony also rose after the Yomiuri newspaper reported that it will form a venture to produce liquid-crystal displays with Toshiba Corp. and Hitachi Ltd. Toshiba advanced 2.1 percent to 339 yen. Hitachi rose 1.2 percent to 411 yen.
Banks were the second-biggest contributor to the Topix index’s advance after EFG Eurobank Ergasias SA and Alpha Bank SA agreed to merge and create Greece’s biggest bank, driving the ASE Index to the largest gain in 21 years. Alpha Bank will acquire Eurobank as they seek to ride out a deepening recession and the country’s sovereign debt crisis.
Mitsubishi UFJ Financial Group rose 1.8 percent to 340 yen. Mizuho Financial Group Inc., Japan’s third-largest bank by market value, rose 0.9 percent to 114 yen.
Konami Corp., a video-game developer, jumped 7.2 percent to 2,818 yen, the highest close since September 2008. Konami’s first-quarter earnings were boosted by sales of its social-network games and the business will probably continue to grow, Toward the Infinite World Inc., a researcher, said in a Japanese-language report dated yesterday.