Japan Stocks Rise for Second Week on U.S. Rates Outlook

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Japanese stocks rose for a second week as investor sentiment recovered amid expectations of slower interest-rate increases in the U.S. despite growing confidence in the world’s largest economy.

Toshiba Corp. gained 2.3 percent after reporting an 86 percent jump in net income. Advantest Corp., a chip manufacturer, added 9.3 percent after boosting its profit forecast. Computer maker NEC Corp. tumbled 7.5 percent as its operating profit missed estimates. SoftBank Corp. lost 3.5 percent to be the biggest drag on the Nikkei 225 Stock Average after Alibaba Group Holdings Ltd., of which it owns 32 percent, missed sales estimates.

The Topix added 0.1 percent to 1,415.07 at the close in Tokyo, gaining 0.8 percent this week and 0.5 percent in January. Two stocks advanced for each that fell. The Nikkei 225 Stock Average rose 0.4 percent to 17,674.39.

“There is growing confidence in the U.S. economy as seen by the Fed. Employment has gotten better and the effects from cheaper oil have yet to come,” said Shigetoshi Kamata, general manager of the research department at Tachibana Securities Co. in Tokyo. “Investors feel bullish for Japanese stocks today.”

Futures on the Standard & Poor’s 500 Index fell 0.2 percent. The underlying gauge added 1 percent yesterday as investors scrutinized earnings for clues to the strength of the U.S. economy. Dow Chemical Co. rose 4.6 percent and Harman International Industries Inc. surged 24 percent as profits topped estimates.

Jobless Claims

Applications for unemployment insurance benefits in the U.S. plunged by 43,000 to 265,000 in the week ended Jan. 24, the fewest since April 2000, according to the Labor Department. The Bloomberg index of consumer comfort climbed in the seven-day period ended Jan. 25 to the highest level since July 2007.

Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen told Democratic lawmakers that there were no plans to raise benchmark interest rates immediately, according to Senator Chuck Schumer, after the central bank on Wednesday boosted its assessment of the economy.

A government report today showed Japan’s core consumer prices rose 2.5 percent in December from a year earlier, less than the median projection of 2.6 percent in a Bloomberg News survey of economists. Another report showed industrial production increased 1 percent in December from November, below economists’ estimates for 1.2 percent.

Toshiba gained the most in three months, climbing 2.3 percent to 474.6 yen, after reporting net income jumped 86 percent to 71.9 billion yen. The company announced it would restructure its TV business globally.

Profit Forecast

Advantest surged 9.3 percent to 1,512 yen. The electronic parts-maker raised its full-year forecast for operating income by 17 percent to 14 billion yen, above analyst expectations of 13.2 billion yen.

NEC tumbled 7.5 percent to 334 yen, the most since May 2013. Operating profit tumbled 40 percent to 14.1 billion yen, below analyst expectations of 25.1 billion yen. The company maintained its full-year forecast.

Mobile carrier Softbank fell 3.4 percent to 6,963 yen, following Alibaba’s shares lower after the Chinese e-commerce giant reported worse-than-expected earnings yesterday. Softbank owns 32 percent of Alibaba with a stake valued at $71.6 billion.