Topix Gains Ahead of Polls as Yen Weakens on U.S. Retail

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Japanese stocks rose ahead of national elections this weekend after the yen weakened against the dollar as U.S. retail sales jumped the most in eight months.

Canon Inc., a camera maker that gets 80 percent of sales overseas, jumped 3.9 percent after boosting its dividend forecast. DeNA Co. soared 7.4 percent as JPMorgan Chase & Co. upgraded the game developer’s stock. Nidec Corp. advanced 4.6 percent after the electronics manufacturer said it will purchase assets in Germany and China. Chemical producer Showa Denko KK dropped 9.5 percent after lowering its profit forecast.

The Topix index advanced 0.2 percent to 1,399.65 at the close in Tokyo, paring gains in late trading. The gauge dropped 3.2 percent this week. The Nikkei 225 Stock Average rallied 0.7 percent to 17,371.58. The yen weakened 0.2 percent to 118.86 per dollar today after yesterday’s 0.7 percent decline. Japan heads for the polls on Dec. 14 after Prime Minister Shinzo Abe last month called for a referendum on his economic policies.

“There was some stability in the global markets, which allows investors to take a breath and acknowledge that the fundamentals for Japan are quite good,” said Stefan Worrall, director of equity cash sales at Credit Suisse Group AG in Tokyo. “The consensus for a very strong victory for Abe this weekend has solidified.”

Landslide Expected

The prime minister’s coalition will win more than a two-thirds majority, the Nikkei newspaper reported today, citing a survey and echoing almost every other media forecast. The value of the stock market has almost doubled in the two years under Abe’s watch, though the economy has been mired in a recession since the sales-tax increase in April.

Canon jumped 3.9 percent to 3,954.5 yen. The company announced yesterday at the close it would increase its full-year dividend 15 percent to 150 yen, citing a weaker yen for boosting profits in its most recent earnings report.

DeNA jumped 7.4 percent to 1,501 yen. JPMorgan increased its price target for the maker of smartphone games to 1,800 yen from 1,600 yen and lifted the shares to overweight from neutral.

Nidec rose 4.6 percent to 8,135 yen after saying it was acquiring a German autoparts maker and buying motor assets from China Tex Mechanical & Electrical Engineering. Nidec surged 58 percent this year.

Crude Slump

Showa Denko tumbled 9.5 percent to 162 yen, it’s biggest drop in more than three years. The chemical company cut its net-income forecast 29 percent to 5 billion yen ($42 million) on lower oil prices.

West Texas Intermediate crude fell below $60 for the first time since June 2009. Oil extended losses from a five-year low on speculation OPEC’s biggest members will defend market share against U.S. shale producers.

U.S. retail sales rose 0.7 percent in November, the most in eight months, as consumers snapped up electronics, clothing and furniture, according to government data released yesterday. The report boosted optimism the economy is gaining speed, with employers last month adding the most jobs since January 2012.

Futures on the Standard & Poor’s 500 Index lost 0.2 percent today after the underlying measure rose 0.5 percent yesterday. The Chicago Board Options Exchange Volatility Index gained for a fourth day, bring this week’s surge to 70 percent.

December futures and options on the Nikkei 225 settled at 17,281.64. Volume on the index was 28 percent above the 30-day average.