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Nikkei Touches 10,000 First Time Since August as Greece Clinches Debt Deal

Published: March 9, 2012 | 9:16 am
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Japanese shares rose for a second day, with the Nikkei 225 Stock Average touching 10,000 for the first time since August, as Greece completed the biggest sovereign-debt restructuring in history and the yen slipped against the euro.
Sony Corp. (6758), which depends on Europe for more than a fifth of its sales, climbed 4.3 percent. Mitsubishi UFJ Financial Group Inc., Japan’s top publicly traded bank, gained 2.4 percent on optimism Greece would avoid default. Nippon Steel (5401) Corp. and other makers of the material rose as confidence in the global economic recovery gained momentum.

“It’s big that Greece is becoming less of a drag as the global economy rebounds,” said Kazuyuki Terao, chief investment officer of RCM Japan Co. “Confidence is spreading in the markets. The weaker yen has led investors to buy Japanese stocks.”
The Nikkei 225 (NKY) rose 1.7 percent to 9,929.74 at the 3 p.m. close in Tokyo, with a weekly gain of 1.6 percent. The gauge outperformed every other major Asian equity index today, reaching as high as 10,007.62 with volume 60 percent higher than the 10-day average. The broader Topix Index (TPX)gained 1.5 percent to 848.71. It has risen 11 percent since March 2009, the bottom of the global equities slump that followed the collapse of Lehman Brothers Holding Inc.

Greek Debt Deal

Shares rose today after people familiar with Greece’s debt negotiations said the government had clinched enough bondholder participation to complete a debt swap essential to containing Europe’s crisis. After the market closed, Greece announced a 95.7 percent participation rate.
The Topix’s volume and trading value reaching the highest level since March after the settlement price for Nikkei 225 futures and options contracts for March delivery, also known as the “special quotation” was fixed at 9,946.46.
Futures on the Standard & Poor’s 500 Index (SPXL1) fell 0.1 percent today. The measure rose 1 percent in New York yesterday after about 85 percent of bondholders tendered their Greek government debt for new securities. Financial stocks rose on optimism for the writedown.

Finance Stocks Climb

Mitsubishi UFJ Financial Group rose 2.4 percent to 425 yen. Sumitomo Mitsui Financial Group Inc. (8316), Japan’s second-biggest bank by market value, climbed 1.8 percent to 2,784 yen.
The 17-nation euro currency rose after the European Central Bank kept its benchmark interest rate unchanged and President Mario Draghi said recent surveys showed signs of economic stabilization. The yen fell against all of its major counterparts, lifting prospects for exporters.
Sony rose 4.3 percent to 1,718 yen. Kyocera Corp. (6971), an electronics maker that gets almost 20 percent of its sales in Europe, gained 2.2 percent to 7,460 yen. Toyota Motor Corp., Asia’s biggest carmaker, rose 2.7 percent to 3,420 yen.
The yen depreciated to as low as 108.65 against the euro today in Tokyo, compared with 107.18 at the close of stock trading yesterday. Japan’s currency weakened to 81.89 against the dollar from 81.34. A weaker yen boosts the value of overseas income at Japanese companies when repatriated.

Steelmakers Rise

Steelmakers gained the most in the Topix’s 33 industry groups. Nippon Steel, Japan’s biggest maker of the material, increased 4.5 percent to 233 yen. JFE Holdings Inc. jumped 5.4 percent to 1,687 yen.
Exporters to China rose as the nation’s inflation beat estimates, easing to the slowest pace in 20 months in February, providing more room to stimulate the world’s second-biggest economy as investment and export growth weaken.
TDK Corp. (6762), an electronic parts maker that gets almost a third of its revenue from China, rose 2.3 percent to 4,310 yen. Hitachi Construction Machinery Co., an excavator maker that gets more than half of its sales in Asia, climbed 4.6 percent to 1,778 yen.


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