Nikkei rises as market shrugs off poor US data; Yahoo, Mixi soar
* Long-term investors want to be long - trader * Nikkei options seen settled at 14,536.09 - traders * Yahoo Japan jumps on inclusion in Goldman's conviction buy list * Kirin tumbles to 1-year low on weaker-than-expected profit forecast By Ayai Tomisawa TOKYO, Feb 14 (Reuters) - Japan's Nikkei share average rose on Friday morning, tracking gains on Wall Street as investors shrugged off weak U.S. data and stayed optimistic over the long-term economic outlook. Among notable movers, Yahoo Japan Corp jumped 4.1 percent to a three-week high of 615 yen after Goldman Sachs added the stock to its "conviction buy" list and raised its target price to 750 yen from 650 yen, citing strength in its e-commerce business and the company's recent results showing steady growth. Social networking services provider Mixi Inc soared 19 percent to a 2-1/2-week high after it raised its annual outlook to an operating profit of 200 million yen from a loss of 1.6 billion yen due to strong smartphone gaming traffic. But Kirin Holdings Co tumbled 8 percent to a one-year low after the brewer forecast 140 billion yen in operating profit for 2014, below the market consensus of 152.1 billion yen. The Nikkei was up 0.6 percent at 14,626.94 in midmorning trade. On Thursday it had closed down 1.8 percent, its biggest daily percentage drop in a week. Traders said that the Nikkei February options settlement was seen priced at 14,536.09 on Friday morning, which will likely serve as a support level for the benchmark in the near term. The official settlement price will be released after the market close. U.S. retail sales fell unexpectedly in January and more Americans filed for jobless benefits last week, the latest signs the economy started the year on softer footing as unseasonably cold weather took its toll. Market participants said that although short-term investors might to react to poor U.S. economic data such as the latest retail and jobs figures, most long-term foreign investors have stayed optimistic about the global economic recovery. "The general view is that things continue to slowly improve," said a senior trader at a U.S. brokerage. "If you continue to see improving economic cycles placed by the UK, placed by the U.S. and Japan, you'd probably want to be long than not." A scheduled U.S. Senate hearing with Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen on Thursday was postponed due to snow, but her stance to hold off from making any changes to the Fed's stimulus-cutting schedule has kept sentiment positive, the trader said. On Friday, foreign investors placed net buy orders for Japanese stocks for a seventh day. Exporters were generally higher even after the dollar edged lower to 102.18 yen from Thursday's high of 102.58. Toyota Motor Corp gained 0.6 percent, Honda Motor Co added 1.6 percent and Sony Corp rose 0.7 percent. The broader Topix added 0.4 percent to 1,204.73. The JPX-Nikkei Index 400, an index launched this year comprised of firms with high return on equity and strong corporate governance, rose 0.5 percent to 10,897.85.
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