Nikkei hits fresh 15-year high on improved ROE expectations

lunes 16 de marzo de 2015 22:31 GYT

* Hitachi, Mitsubishi Heavy rise after Nikkei ROE report
    * Toyota hits record high on appetite for Japanese shares
    * BOJ seen maintaining policy

    By Ayai Tomisawa
    TOKYO, March 17 (Reuters) - Japan's Nikkei share average
rose to a fresh 15-year high on Tuesday morning following gains
in U.S. and European shares, while expectations that companies
could improve their return on equity will improve lifted overall
    The Nikkei share average rose 0.8 percent to
19,405.72 in midmorning trade, after hitting as high as
19,428.52, the highest level since April 2000.
    Hitachi Ltd gained 3.2 percent and Mitsubishi Heavy
Industries rose 2.1 percent after the Nikkei business
daily reported that the companies aim to lift return on equity
above 10 percent to convince investors that they can earn
profits even with limited capital.
    "Changes seen in the microeconomic level are attracting
buyers," said Nobuhiko Kuramochi, a strategist at Mizuho
     Meanwhile, Toyota Motor Corp, a bellwether company
in the Japanese market, rose 1.1 percent to hit a record high of
8,369 yen.
    "The Japanese market is outperforming its global peers, and
if you don't want to fall behind, you can't be underweight
Japan," Kuramochi said. "Toyota has a big market capitalization,
and those who are bullish on Japan are seen buying Toyota."
    Tokyo Gas rose as high as 3.1 percent after the
Nikkei reported that it will likely repurchase some 50 billion
yen of shares in the year ending March 2016, among its largest
buybacks ever, as part of efforts to boost return on equity.
    Expectations for higher shareholder returns have supported
the mood since industrial robot maker Fanuc said last
week it is considering dividend hikes and more dialogue with
    The Bank of Japan will report the outcome of its monetary
policy later in the day. It is set to maintain its massive
stimulus programme and signal its conviction that a steady
economic recovery will help achieve its ambitious 2 percent
price growth target without immediate, additional monetary
    The broader Topix rose 0.6 percent to 1,567.21 and
the JPX-Nikkei Index 400 advanced 0.7 percent to

 (Editing by Eric Meijer)