Topix Index Advances as Yen Falls Below 100 Per Dollar

Japan’s Topix Index climbed to the highest close in 4 1/2 years as the yen weakened past 100 against the dollar and earnings at companies including Nikon Corp. cheered investors.

Mazda Motor Corp., the Japanese automaker most dependent on exports, soared 7.2 percent as the currency slid against most of its peers. Nikon climbed the most in four years after the camera maker’s profit forecast beat analyst estimates. Sharp Corp. surged 6.4 percent after the Asahi newspaper said the money-losing electronics maker will cut 5,000 more jobs.

The Topix added 2.4 percent to close at 1,210.60 in Tokyo, the highest since September 2008. About three stocks gained for each that fell on the measure. The exporter-heavy Nikkei 225 Stock Average gained 2.9 percent to 14,607.54 today, advancing 6.7 percent for the week, the most since December 2009.

“The yen weakened beyond a psychological threshold and may fall further, giving the stock market a direct boost,” said Takahiro Nakano, a Tokyo-based strategist at Mizuho Trust & Banking Co., a unit of Japan’s third-largest bank by market value. “Exporters are showing strong results, supporting the market. Also, companies may raise profit forecasts because many of them have conservative estimates.”

The Topix this week recouped losses from the 2008 collapse of Lehman Brothers Holdings Inc. amid signs the U.S. economy is picking up, while Japan’s new leadership takes steps to end deflation. The gauge has surged more than 40 percent this year, the most among major indexes.

Fed Stimulus

Futures on the Standard & Poor’s 500 Index rose 0.2 percent today. The measure dropped 0.4 percent yesterday after extending its record level for five days as Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia President Charles Plosser said he favors scaling back the pace of stimulus.

The yen slumped below 101 per dollar today, touching the lowest level since April 2009. Japan’s current-account surplus rose in March to the highest level in a year as a depreciating yen boosted repatriated earnings. The excess in the widest measure of trade was 1.25 trillion yen ($12.4 billion), the Ministry of Finance said today.

Exporters rallied, with Mazda jumping 7.2 percent to 356 yen. Toyota Motor Corp. gained 5 percent to 6,050 yen. Fuji Heavy Industries Ltd., the maker of Subaru cars that gets 65 percent of its sales abroad, surged 11 percent to 2,157 yen.

Japanese stocks also rose after positive earnings reports. Nikon soared 15 percent to 2,500 yen, the biggest rally since January 2009, after forecasting profit will rise 53 percent to 65 billion yen this fiscal year. The camera maker’s rating was raised to overweight at JPMorgan Chase & Co. and Barclays Plc. The stock headed for the biggest gain since January 2009.

Apartment Sales

Mitsui Fudosan Co. soared 7.3 percent to 3,450 yen after the developer, Japan’s biggest, projected full-year profit to rise 9.3 percent to 65 billion yen in the 12 months through March 2014 on plans to sell more apartments.

Of the 521 companies on the Topix that have reported full-year earnings since April 1, and for which Bloomberg has estimates, 310 beat analysts’ projections.

Sharp jumped 6.4 percent to 450 yen, the highest in a year, after Asahi reported the TV maker plans to cut its workforce by about 10 percent as part of an effort to restructure its unprofitable display business ahead of debt deadlines. The shares surged 15 percent yesterday on a report Samsung Electronics Co. may invest more in the company.

Sony Trails

Sony Corp. rose even after its profit forecast missed expectations amid a fight to regain market share from Samsung. Japan’s biggest TV maker projected that full-year net income will rise to 50 billion yen, less than analysts’ average estimate of 66.4 billion yen. Shares of the company, which returned to profit after four years of losses, added 2.5 percent to 1,787 yen.

The Nikkei Stock Average Volatility Index gained 1.8 percent to 26.08, indicating traders expect a swing of about 7.5 percent on the benchmark gauge during the next 30 days. Nikkei 225 options for May settled today at 14,601.95, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.

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