Japan Stocks Rise Amid Greece Optimism as Yen Falls on U.S. Data

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Japanese stocks rose after U.S. economic data boosted the dollar against the yen and as investors grow more confident that Greece’s debt crisis will be resolved.

Drugmakers led gains, with Takeda Pharmaceutical Co. climbing 2.2 percent. The weaker yen boosted exporters including Alpine Electronics Inc., which rose 2.4 percent. Carmakers rallied after posting better-than-expected U.S. sales in June, with Nissan Motor Co. and Honda Motor Co. jumping at least 2.7 percent. Kawasaki Heavy Industries Ltd. fell 2.4 percent after Barclays PLC cut its rating.

The Topix climbed 0.7 percent to 1,648.24 at the close in Tokyo, rising for a third day, as all but six of its 33 industry groups advanced. The Nikkei 225 Stock Average gained 1 percent to 20,522.50. The yen traded at 123.41 per dollar, weakening for a second day, after stronger-than-expected U.S. private data on employment and manufacturing ahead of an official payrolls report on Thursday.

“Just as the Federal Reserve expected, as we head toward higher interest rates the economic mood is recovering,” said Mitsushige Akino, executive officer at Ichiyoshi Asset Management Co. in Tokyo. “An interest-rate hike expresses the quality of the U.S. and should be seen as a positive.”

Global stocks rallied Wednesday from near a three-month low as Greece made a compromise offer on its debt. The bid was rejected by euro-area leaders, who have said they won’t hold talks until after Sunday’s Greek referendum on creditors’ demands.

U.S. Payrolls

“There has to be a negotiated deal there, and I think the market believes there will be at the end of the day despite the drama,” Michael Cuggino, a fund manager at Pacific Heights Asset Management LLC in San Francisco, told Bloomberg TV. “Corporate earnings in the second quarter along with the labor data will give us an indication as to what we’re going to see going forward.”

U.S. employers added 237,000 workers in June, beating the 218,000 expected by economists, ADP Research Institute reported. The Institute for Supply Management’s factory index increased to 53.5 in June from 52.8 in May, higher than the 53.2 expected.

Investors are awaiting government payrolls data on Thursday, which economists expect will show employers added 230,000 workers. The improving outlook for the labor market is one reason Fed policy makers have said they may begin to raise interest rates this year from near zero.

Exporters rose as the yen weakened. Car audio-equipment maker Alpine Electronics, which relies on North America for 37 percent of sales, strengthened 2.4 percent. Shimano Inc, a bicycle-parts maker that gets 87 percent of revenue abroad, added 2.1 percent.

Drugs, Autos

The Topix index of drugmakers jumped 1.9 percent, posting its best day since April 21. Takeda advanced 2.2 percent, while Shionogi & Co. climbed 3.8 percent.

Automakers rallied after data showed U.S. car sales improved in June, capping the best first half in a decade and predicted an even better finish to the year. Honda jumped 3.5 percent to be the biggest boost to the Topix, while Nissan added 2.7 percent. Toyota Motor Corp. rose just 0.2 percent even as it beat sales estimates.

Barclays downgraded Kawasaki Heavy to equalweight from overweight, sending shares of the industrial-machinery manufacturer down 2.4 percent to 563 yen. The brokerage also cut its price target to 590 yen from 670 yen per share.

Real-estate investment trusts sold off sharply, with Mori Trust Sogo Reit Inc. losing 3.3 percent and Invincible Investment Corp. dropping by 4.1 percent. The Tokyo Stock Exchange REIT Index fell 2.1 percent to its lowest close since November.

Futures on the Standard & Poor’s 500 Index rose less than 0.1 percent after the underlying benchmark climbed 0.7 percent on Wednesday on optimism Greece will forge a solution to its debt crisis. The Stoxx Europe 600 Index jumped 1.5 percent.

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