Nikkei set for 7th day of gains on optimism over shareholder returns

domingo 24 de mayo de 2015 22:44 GYT

* Nikkei's rally longest since last December
    * SMK, Marubeni up on better shareholder return hopes
    * Tepco soars on report of contract for reactor in Qatar

    By Ayai Tomisawa
    TOKYO, May 25 (Reuters) - Japan's Nikkei share average rose
for a seventh day, hitting a fresh 15-year high on Monday
morning, helped by ongoing optimism for higher shareholder
returns and the recovering economy.
    The Nikkei 225 gained 0.7 percent to 20,409.05, the
highest level since April 2000.
    The Nikkei has risen for seven straight days on the brighter
outlook of shareholders, strong corporate earnings, optimism for
the recovering economy and expectations that the U.S. Federal
Reserve will hold off from raising interest rates soon.
    The benchmark has gained 4.2 percent over the past seven
days, the longest winning streak since last December.
    "It's not like there is a new catalyst to lift the market
further up. It's an ongoing expectation that shareholder returns
are getting better. The environment for the market is getting
better," said Hikaru Sato, a senior technical analyst at Daiwa
    Companies announcing better shareholder returns are rising. 
    SMK Corp gained 3.0 percent after saying that it
would buy back up to 1 million shares, or 1.39 percent of shares
outstanding, worth up to 500 million yen.
    Marubeni Corp rose 1.4 percent after the Nikkei
business daily said it was looking to increase its dividend
payout ration as it seeks to better reward shareholders.
    Yamada Denki added 2.3 percent after the Nikkei
reported that the home electronics chain plans to close at least
40 stores by the end of the month.
    Tokyo Electric Power Co surged 5.5 percent after
the Nikkei reported that it and Mitsubishi Corp have
received an order to construct a large power plant in Qatar.
    Bucking the market's strength, Prima Meat dropped
5.0 percent after saying it would raise up to 10.1 billion yen
through common shares and a private placement. 
    Separately, Japan's trade data released early on Monday had
limited market impact.
    Ministry of Finance data showed exports in April grew 8.0
percent from a year earlier, versus expectations for 6.4 percent
growth by economists in a Reuters poll, slowing from a 8.5
percent gain in March. 
    The broader Topix gained 0.7 percent to 1,658.51 and
the JPX-Nikkei Index 400 advanced 0.6 percent to

 (Editing by Jacqueline Wong)