Japan’s Stocks Rise on U.S. Data as Shares Go Ex-Dividend

Japanese shares climbed after U.S. home prices and durable goods orders rose faster than estimated. Gains were limited as most stocks on the Topix Index traded without rights to a dividend.

Canon Inc., a camera maker that gets 27 percent of its sales from the Americas, advanced 0.9 percent. Square Enix Holdings Co., the maker of the Final Fantasy games, slumped 8.9 percent after reversing its profit forecast to a 13 billion yen loss. Daiei Inc. fell the most on the Topix after a report Aeon Co. will buy shares at a discount to raise its stake in the supermarket operator.

The Topix rose 0.2 percent to 1,046.47 at the close in Tokyo, reversing a loss of as much as 0.2 percent. Shares of 1,330 companies on the 1,696-member gauge if bought today won’t receive a dividend for the most recent period. The Nikkei 225 Stock Average climbed 0.2 percent to 12,493.79, with volume 34 percent lower than the 30-day average.

“Shares would be higher today but the ex-dividend price adjustment is shaving about nine points off the Topix and about 100 yen from the Nikkei 225,” said Masaru Hamasaki, chief strategist at Toyota Asset Management Co., which oversees the equivalent of about 1.8 trillion yen ($19 billion). “U.S. housing prices are rising steadily and that’s raising expectation that demand will increase. Japanese exporters had been rising on expectations for improved earnings.”

The Topix rallied 45 percent from Nov. 14, when elections were announced that brought Prime Minister Shinzo Abe to power on a platform of increased stimulus and central bank easing. The gauge is trading at 1.2 times book value, compared with 2.2 for the Standard & Poor’s 500 Index and 1.5 for the Stoxx Europe 600 Index, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.

U.S. Optimism

Futures on the S&P 500 were unchanged. The equity measure yesterday rebounded to within two points of its record after U.S. home prices increased in January by the most since June 2006, according to the S&P/Case-Shiller index released. Orders for U.S. durable goods climbed more than forecast in February, propelled by automobiles and a rebound in commercial aircraft, a Commerce Department report showed.

Exporters rose today after the yen fell 0.3 percent against the dollar. A weaker Japanese currency boosts overseas earnings at exporters when repatriated.

Canon, the world’s biggest camera maker, gained 0.9 percent to 3,525 yen. Honda Motor Co., which counts North America as its top market, rose 1.1 percent to 3,660 yen.

Square Enix slumped 8.9 percent to 1,009 yen, its lowest level on record. The gamemaker yesterday forecast a 13 billion yen loss for this fiscal year, compared with its previous forecast for a 3.5 billion yen profit.

Daiei Offer

Daiei tumbled 9.8 percent to 286 yen. Aeon will raise its stake in the retailer by as much as 40 percent, offering about 270 yen a share, the Nikkei newspaper reported. The bid is about 15 percent below Daiei’s closing price yesterday. Aeon jumped 6.3 percent to 1,226 yen, reaching its highest level since August 2008.

Sharp Corp. dropped 4.1 percent, the biggest decline on the Nikkei 225. Hon Hai Precision Industry Co. missed the deadline to complete an investment agreement with the unprofitable maker of Aquos televisions.

The Nikkei Stock Average Volatility Index fell 2.3 percent to 25.72 today, indicating traders expect a swing of about 7.4 percent on the benchmark gauge over the next 30 days.