Nikkei extends gains to 9th day, limited by Wall Street's rate hike nerves

martes 26 de mayo de 2015 22:22 GYT
 

* Market assesses pros and cons of weak yen - traders
    * Nikkei posts longest winning streak since last August

    By Ayai Tomisawa
    TOKYO, May 27 (Reuters) - Japan's Nikkei share average was
marginally higher on Wednesday morning, extending its gains into
a ninth day, but gains were limited as U.S. shares languished
after upbeat U.S. data fed fears that a rate hike may come
earlier than expected.
    The Nikkei 225 rose 0.1 percent to 20,453.65 in
midmorning trade after traversing negative and positive
territory. The index rose for nine consecutive days, the longest
winning streak since last August. In the past eight days, the
index soared 4.4 percent.
    U.S. stocks fell and the dollar rose to an eight-year high
against the yen after a gauge of U.S. business investment
spending plans rose solidly in April, consumer confidence perked
up this month, and house prices extended gains in March.
 
    The buoyant data follows Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen
saying on Friday that the central bank could raise interest
rates this year if the economy keeps improving as expected.
    Market observers said that the Japanese market may stay
directionless for the time being while investors assess the pros
and cons of a weakening yen, after the dollar surged to an
eight-year peak of 123.33 yen overnight.
    "A weaker yen is negative to the energy sector and to other
importers, but for now, the stock market seems to appreciate it
as it helps most manufacturers' earnings and boosts inbound
tourism," said Fujio Ando, senior managing director at Chibagin
Asset Management.
    But Ando said that in the mid-to-long term, investors may
look more to the weak yen's negative effects on the Japanese
economy and take profits from recent gains.
    Meantime, Japan's top government spokesman said on Tuesday
recent moves in the yen were not "sudden" and had no impact on
the economy. 
    Exporters were strong, with Toyota Motor Corp 
rising 0.6 percent, Honda Motor Co adding 0.7 percent
and Panasonic Corp advancing 0.6 percent.
    Utility stocks lost ground, with Chubu Electric Power Co
 falling 0.5 percent and Tokyo Gas Co shedding
1.0 percent.
    The broader Topix dropped 0.2 percent to 1,657.19
and the JPX-Nikkei Index 400 shed 0.2 percent to
14,979.39.
    

 (Editing by Eric Meijer)