Nikkei hits 8-1/2 mth high on weak yen, nears level before Lehman crash

jueves 18 de septiembre de 2014 22:49 GYT

* Nikkei highest since Dec, nears pre financial crisis level
    * Yen drops to six-year low vs dollar after vote went
against Scottish independence
    * Long-term investors cautious against steep rise - analysts

    By Ayai Tomisawa
    TOKYO, Sept 19 (Reuters) - Japanese stocks extended gains to
an 8-1/2 month high on Friday  after the yen dropped to a
six-year low, underpinned by the Federal Reserve's policy
outlook, and after the first result in the Scottish independence
vote went to the unioninst camp.
     The weakening yen drove exporter shares higher and swept  
the market near levels last seen before the collapse of Lehman
    The Nikkei share average rose 1.5 percent to
16,301.08 at the midday break, nearing a December 30 high of
16,320.22. A breach of this level will mark the highest point
since 2007.
    "It's all about easy money. The valuation does not look
stretched, either," said Michiro Naito, executive director of
equity derivatives strategy at JPMorgan, adding that there are
few signs of significant downside risk at present.
    Gains were led by index-heavy stocks such as Fast Retailing
Co and Fanuc Corp, which soared 3.7 percent.
    Exporters were also among the big winners as a weaker yen is
seen as a boon to their earnings. Nissan Motor Co rose
1.2 percent, Fuji Heavy Industries jumped 3.4 percent
and Advantest Corp climbed 1.7 percent.
    Sterling pushed sharply higher in Asian trade on Friday as
the first result reported in the Scottish independence vote went
to the unionist camp. 
    Sterling's rise against the yen took the Japanese currency
down over two full yen to reach 180.66 yen, its lowest
since late 2008.
    This in turn put more pressure on the yen against the dollar
- already on a bull run after the Fed this week said it could
raise borrowing costs faster than expected when it starts its
tightening cycle. The dollar rose to 109.20 yen, the
highest since August 2008.
    Analysts said the yen's moves against the dollar will be key
to how much further momentum is carried through in the market.  
    "It's mainly short-term hedge funds chasing the market
higher today by buying futures and index-heavy weight stocks,"
said Norihiro Fujito, a senior investment strategist at
Mitsubishi UFJ Morgan Stanley Securities. 
    "Such buying may their moves are fast, so we
cannot be overly optimistic."
    The broader Topix gained 0.9 percent to 1,329.33,
and the JPX-Nikkei Index 400 added 1.0 percent to

 (Editing by Shri Navaratnam)