Topix Caps Five-Week Advance as Nikkei 225 Extends 15-Year High

Japanese stocks rose, with the Topix index posting a fifth straight weekly gain and the Nikkei 225 Stock Average extending a 15-year high, as metal product makers and paper manufacturers led the advance.

Wafer-maker Sumco Corp. jumped 5.3 percent to rise the most on the Topix Metal Products Index. Japan Display Inc. jumped 5.4 percent on a report the company is considering building a plant in Japan at Apple Inc.’s request. Mitsubishi UFJ Financial Group Inc., the country’s No. 1 lender, dropped 0.6 percent as the biggest drag on the Topix after gaining 6.9 percent the past two days.

The Topix added 0.4 percent to 1,500.33 in Tokyo to close at the strongest level since December 2007 and rise 3.5 percent this week, its biggest such increase this year. The Nikkei 225 advanced 0.4 percent to 18,332.30 after closing at its highest since May 2000 yesterday.

“With excess liquidity globally, and with Japanese stocks starting to look profitable after they went through a critical juncture, investors are more likely to take risks,” said Masayuki Doshida, a senior market analyst at Rakuten Economic Research Institute. “The gains look too quick, and as it starts to feel top heavy, selling is going to take priority.”

Futures on the Standard & Poor’s 500 Index were little changed after the underlying gauge slipped 0.1 percent on Thursday in New York.

Greek Debt

The Stoxx Europe 600 Index added 0.3 percent, extending a seven-year high amid optimism Greece will reach a deal with euro-area creditors. Germany is leaving the door open to an agreement on Greece’s bailout funding as officials prepare their negotiating positions going into a meeting of finance ministers in Brussels on Friday.

The Topix Metal Products Index gained 1.5 percent, its highest close since September 2007. Sumco rose 5.3 percent to 2,224 yen.

Japan Display jumped 5.4 percent to 488 yen. The company is weighing building a domestic liquid-crystal display panel plant and is discussing a framework in which Apple would shoulder most the cost, the Nikkan Kogyo newspaper reported, without saying who provided the information.

The Topix Banks Index slid 0.2 percent today after leading gains on the broader equity gauge yesterday. Mitsubishi UFJ slid 0.6 percent to 765.5 yen.

Japan’s exports expanded at the fastest pace in more than a year in January, data showed Thursday in Tokyo, with shipments jumping 17 percent from a year earlier.

“We’re seeing that the amount of exports are growing, not just the value of it because of a weaker yen,” said Akio Yoshino, chief economist in Tokyo at Amundi Japan Ltd. “That’s why we’re seeing relative strength from exporters today. Even with New York shares falling, Greece concerns and the yen on the stronger side, Japanese shares are pushing upwards.”

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