Nikkei crests 15,000 for 1st time in 2 months on US data, weak yen
* Foreigners pick up laggard Japanese stocks - trader * Foreign brokers place biggest net buy orders of Japanese stocks in a year * Pigeon soars after posting strong profits for Feb-Apr period By Ayai Tomisawa TOKYO, June 3 (Reuters) - Japan's Nikkei share average rose above the 15,000 mark for the first time in two months after investors took heart from upbeat U.S. data, while the weaker yen spurred buying in exporters and index-heavyweight stocks such as SoftBank Corp. The Nikkei gained 1.0 percent to 15,083.69 in mid-morning trade after opening at 15,089.04, the highest since April 4. Six foreign brokerages placed a net buy orders of 22.2 million Japanese shares before the market opened, according to traders who compiled the data. The figure was the biggest since June 2013. The U.S. Institute for Supply Management corrected its manufacturing activity index for May to 55.4, from a below-consensus reading of 53.2. The ISM said it had to make the correction due to an error in applying the seasonal adjustments. "Some people think that the U.S. economy will show its resilience and that it will become more obvious later this week (when U.S. jobs data is out)," said a senior trader at a foreign brokerage. He added that as foreign investors grew more confident about macroeconomic data, they started buying up laggard Japanese shares. "If the Nikkei gets consolidated above 15,000, people will feel comfortable about the (Japanese) market." Also helping sentiment was a report by the Nikkei business daily that Japan's public pension fund, the world's biggest, could raise its investment in domestic stocks to 20 percent of its portfolio from the current 12 percent. Exporters were strong, with Hitachi Ltd rising 2.3 percent, Nikon Corp adding 1.5 percent and Toyota Motor Corp advancing 1.0 percent. The dollar traded at 102.40 yen, having risen 0.6 percent on Monday in its biggest one-day rise in over two months. Index heavyweight stocks were strong, with SoftBank rising 1.1 percent and Fast Retailing Co gaining 1.3 percent. Pigeon Corp, which has about 50 percent foreign ownership, jumped 7.3 percent to a five-month high after the baby goods maker said its operating profit jumped 40.3 percent on year for the Feb-Apr period thanks to rising demand in China. The broader Topix gained 0.8 percent to 1,230.60, while the new JPX-Nikkei Index 400 added 0.8 percent to 11,209.82. (Editing by Eric Meijer)
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