REFILE-Nikkei gains capped by Ebola case in New York

viernes 24 de octubre de 2014 02:19 GYT
 

(Fixing Airtech's company code in 7th paragraph)
    * Nikkei advances on weak yen, Wall Street gains
    * First confirmed case of virus in New York limits gains
    * Helath stocks Airtech, Fujifilm rise

    By Thomas Wilson
    TOKYO, Oct 24 (Reuters) - Japanese shares rose on Friday on
the back of a weaker yen and Wall Street gains, but its advance
was capped by reports of an Ebola case in New York City which
sent U.S. stock futures lower.
    The Nikkei share average was up 0.7 percent at
15,241.94 points at 0129 GMT.
    A physician with Doctors without Borders who returned to the
United States after treating Ebola patients in Guinea tested
positive for the virus, the New York Times said. 
    The first confirmed Ebola case in America's largest city and
financial capital highlighted the spread of the disease and
sparked renewed concerns in the Japanese market.
    "The fears are there, and they're firmly in investors'
heads," said Mitsushige Akino, chief fund manager at Ichiyoshi
Asset Management in Tokyo.
    Tokyo-listed shares in firms manufacturing Ebola-related
products jumped in response.  
    Air filter manufacturer Airtech Japan Ltd leapt
13.14 percent, while health protection device maker Shigematsu
Works Co Ltd soared 10 percent.
    Fujifilm Holdings Corp, which makes the Avigan drug
hoped to be a potential cure for the deadly virus, also rose 2.3
percent.
    Japan's health minister said there is a stockpile of enough
of the drug for 20,000 people, according to the Jiji news
agency. 
    Fujifilm said on Monday it was expanding production of its
Avigan anti-influenza drug to reach an additional number of
Ebola patients. [ID: nL3N0SF5A0]
    The Nikkei had opened brightly, bouyed by a depreciating yen
and a strong Wall Street performance after corporate earnings
continued to beat expectations.     
    The yen was at 107.92 against the dollar, pulling
away from two-week lows against the dollar hit early on Friday
as U.S. stock futures tumbled on reports of the New York Ebola
diagnosis. [ID: nL3N0SJ16I]
    The Japanese currency had come under renewed pressure
overnight after Wall Street gains reduced demand for the safe
haven currency. 
    The depreciation of the Japanese currency helped export
shares, with Toyota Motor Corp jumping 1.9 percent and
Panasonic Corp rising 1.1 percent.    
    Also causing the yen to lose ground was media reports on
concerns within the Bank of Japan that inflation may slip below
1 percent, well off the central bank's target of 2 percent.  
    That may increase the possibility of further monetary
easing, and sharpened investor focus on the BOJ's monetary
policy meeting next Friday.
    Hitachi Ltd shares rose 4.4 percent after the firm
upwardly revised its earnings forecast.
    Also boosting stocks was positive U.S. jobs data that showed
new claims for unemployment benefit holding below 300,000 for a
sixth straight week, suggesting that the U.S. labour market was
unperturbed by global growth worries. <ID: nL2N0SI0VJ> 
    The broader Topix rose 0.7 percent to 1,241.10,
while the new JPX-Nikkei Index 400 also advanced 0.7
percent to 11,290.51.

 (Reporting by Thomas Wilson; Editing by Kim Coghill)