Kobe Leads Japanese Steel Stocks Higher on Stimulus Optimism

Kobe Steel Ltd., Japan’s third-largest mill, led domestic steelmakers higher in Tokyo trading on optimism the new administration’s economy-boosting measures will fuel demand.

Kobe Steel surged the most in 21 months, gaining 13.2 percent to 103 yen at the close. Nippon Steel & Sumitomo Metal Corp., Japan’s biggest steelmaker, gained 6.7 percent to 208 yen, the most since Sept. 7, while JFE Holdings Inc. rose 5 percent to 1,520 yen.

Shinzo Abe’s victory in Japanese elections gives him a mandate to implement fiscal and monetary stimulus plans and increase public-works spending. Abe, whose Liberal Democratic Party returned to power after three years, said on Dec. 17 he wants to implement a “large” supplementary budget to stimulate the economy.

Shares in Japanese steel companies gained today on speculation about the stimulus measures, said Yoku Ihara, an investment adviser at Retela Crea Securities Co. in Tokyo. The Japan Iron and Steel Federation Chairman Hiroshi Tomono yesterday called on the new administration to upgrade the country’s infrastructure and spur the nation’s economy.