Nikkei gains on strong Wall St; large-cap shares advance

domingo 28 de diciembre de 2014 21:58 GYT

* Japan, Inc earnings to boost market in 2015 - trader
    * Market heavy Fast Retailing, KDDI, Softbank rise
    * Weak yen helps exporters shares

    By Thomas Wilson
    TOKYO, Dec 29 (Reuters) - Japanese stocks advanced on Monday
as further gains on Wall Street boosted appetite for riskier
assets and buoyed investors' confidence in the outlook for
equities in 2015. 
    The Nikkei benchmark gained 0.4 percent to 17,892.82
points by 0130 GMT.
    In a holiday-shortened Christmas week, both the Dow 
and the S&P 500 closed at record highs in a broad rally.
Recent gains have come on the back of promising economic data
that has lifted expectations of sustainable growth in the
world's largest economy.
    That's likely to be a big plus for Japanese firms, many of
whom export heavily to the U.S. market. And with Japan's
Economics Minister Akira Amari calling for a corporate tax cut
of at least 2.5 percent after April, corporate earnings are
likely to rise in 2015, helping the market to shrug off
lingering concerns about Japan's tattered finances and weak
domestic demand.
    "Japan Inc is the next catalyst," said Gavin Parry, managing
director of Parry International Trading. "Earnings in 2015 will
be very good."
    Investors received a further boost as a Reuters survey
showed that top Japanese firms are planning to use their record
233 trillion yen ($1.9 trillion) cash reserves to boost
shareholder returns in 2015 rather than spend it on wage
    In quiet trade, investors bought large-cap shares, with
Uniqlo clothes brand owner Fast Retailing Co Ltd 
gaining 0.9 percent and accounting for over a quarter of the
Nikkei's net point gains.
    Mobile phone carrier Softbank Corp added 0.4
percent and KDDI Corp ticked up 0.3 percent. 
    With the yen languishing at 120.50, within sight of a 7-1/2
year low of 121.86 plumbed this month, investors also bought
exporters shares. Panasonic Corp and Toyota Motor Corp
 advanced 0.4 percent and 0.5 percent respectively.  
    Prime Minister Shinzo Abe's mix of aggressive monetary and
fiscal stimulus has pushed the Japanese currency down by roughly
a third since late 2012, helping to boost exporters' profits and
making Japanese goods more competitive overseas, but adding to
some firms' import bills.
    Market participants see the trend continuing in 2015.
    "The yen is really losing its shine as a risk-averse
currency," said Parry.
    The broader Topix added 0.2 percent to 1,430.02,
while the JPX-Nikkei Index 400 ticked up 0.1 percent
to 12,977.65. 

($1 = 120.4900 yen)

 (Reporting by Thomas Wilson; Editing by Kim Coghill)