Japanese Stocks Head for Best Week Since February on Weaker Yen

  • Electric-appliance makers, automakers biggest boost to Topix
  • Yen trades near lowest level in a week as global stocks rise

Japanese stocks surged for a third day, heading for the best weekly gain since mid-February, as the yen traded near the lowest level in a week, boosting the outlook for export earnings.

The Topix index advanced 2.9 percent to 1,371.35 at the close in Tokyo, posting its biggest gain since March 2 and on course for a 6.5 percent jump this week. Fifteen shares rose for each that fell. The Nikkei 225 Stock Average added 3.2 percent to 16,911.05. The yen traded at 109.39 per dollar, maintaining losses after climbing on Monday to the strongest level since October 2014. The dollar rose the most in three weeks on Wednesday as global equities erased losses for the year. Trading volume on the Topix was 15 percent above the 30-day average.

“Once strength in the yen stops, it’s easier to get a flow of Japan stock buying as they’ve fallen behind in the global market,” said Mitsushige Akino, executive officer at Ichiyoshi Asset Management Co. in Tokyo. “I expect this week’s trend of buying large cap shares such as automakers to also continue today.”

Exporters Rise

All 33 Topix industry groups rose. Exporters including electrical-appliance manufacturers and carmakers were the biggest boosts to the benchmark gauge. Toyota Motor Corp. advanced 3.3 percent, while Murata Manufacturing Co., which produces electronic components, added 2.9 percent. 

Aeon Co. jumped 5.4 percent after the supermarket chain announced full-year operating profit of 177 billion yen ($1.6 billion), beating estimates for 162 billion yen. Steelmakers rose after Credit Suisse Group AG upgraded its rating on the nation’s second-largest mill, JFE Holdings Inc., due to its exposure to a resurgent Asian market. Kobe Steel Ltd. posted the steepest gain on the Nikkei 225, surging 8.3 percent, while JFE increased 5.8 percent.

Gulliver International Co. slumped 13 percent after the used-car retailer reported full-year operating profit that missed its forecast.

The Topix is heading for its best week since the week ended Feb. 19, when it rebounded from its lowest level this year. The Japanese benchmark also had its third straight day of gains above 1 percent. A similar winning streak was last seen in August.

The Japanese gauge started 2016 by tumbling into a bear market in mid-January as global shares plunged on concern over tanking oil prices and a slowdown in global economic growth. Although the Topix is up 15 percent from its Feb. 12 low, it is lagging its peers amid the global recovery, as oil prices have recovered and worries over the Chinese economy eased. The Japanese gauge is still down 11 percent in 2016, the third-steepest decline among global markets.

Singapore’s central bank unexpectedly eased its monetary stance on Thursday, moving to a neutral policy of zero percent appreciation in the local dollar, a policy last adopted during the 2008 global financial crisis.

“Asian stocks are strong overall today. We’re in a state where monetary easing continues in general, so the market is seeing this in a positive light,” Yoshihiro Okumura, a general manager at Chiba-Gin Asset Management Co. in Tokyo, said of Singapore’s latest monetary policy move. The MSCI Asia Pacific Index rose 1.5 percent, erasing this year’s losses.

Futures on the Standard & Poor’s 500 Index slipped 0.1 percent after the underlying U.S. equity gauge climbed 1 percent to a four-month high on Wednesday, buoyed by improving Chinese trade data and better-than-expected results from JPMorgan Chase & Co., the biggest U.S. lender by assets.

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