Nikkei scales 18-1/2 year peak on earnings optimism, Greek hopes

martes 23 de junio de 2015 22:49 GYT
 

* Nikkei rises above dot-com bubble peak hit in 2000
    * Supported by hopes on economy, higher payouts to
shareholders
    * Financial share lead gains
    * Speculators major driver of rally

    By Hideyuki Sano
    TOKYO, June 24 (Reuters) - Japan's Nikkei share average
vaulted to the highest level since 1996, ramping up the gains to
around 20 percent since the start of the year thanks to signs of
a pick up in economic growth, earnings optimism and hopes Greece
will avoid a debt default.
    The Nikkei rose 0.5 percent to 20,922.00, rising
above its peak of 20,833.21 hit at the height of the dot-com
bubble in 2000.
    "Looking back from now, we had a bubble in 2000. But I would
say today's market conditions are different. They reflect the
economy more. I think the Nikkei's rally will accelerate in the
second half of this year," said Soichiro Monji, chief strategist
at Daiwa SB Investments.
    Japanese shares have rallied hard this year, with the Nikkei
gaining about 20 percent since the start of the year on signs
the recovery in the world's third-biggest economy was picking up
speed.
    Companies, under pressure from the government to boost
return-on-equity and shareholders' return, are also stoking the
rally by increasing share buybacks and dividend payouts.
    Daiwa SB's Monji expects the Nikkei to reach above 25,000 by
the end of the year, a level last seen in 1992.
    "All the economies in the developed world are expected to
improve later this year. Domestically, wage increases and cheap
oil prices will underpin consumption," he added.
    Investors were buying financial shares, many of which still
have relatively inexpensive valuations, about 13 times of
profits. 
    Brokerage shares rose 1.6 percent, with Daiwa
Securities Group gaining 2.2 percent and Nomura
Holdings rising 1.8 percent.
    Among banks, Mizuho Financial Group and SMFG
 each rose 1.3 percent. 
    The market also benefitted from growing optimism that Greece
will clinch a cash-for-reform deal with its creditors by the end
of this month to avert a default.
    Foreign hedge funds appeared to be aggressively trading
Japanese stock futures, one of the most liquid equity futures
around the world, based on headlines out of Europe, said
Norihiro Fujito, senior investment strategist at Mitsubishi UFJ
Morgan Stanley Securities.
    "The Nikkei rose for 12 days in a row late last month when
foreign players bought 1.7 trillion yen of stocks. After that,
the Nikkei took a step back early this month, when offshore
investors sold one trillion yen. It's clear their moves are
dictating the market," he said.
    "We have to keep in mind, though, that if they change their
positions, the Nikkei could easily fall 1,000 points," he added.
    The broader Topix rose 0.4 percent to 1,683.53,
hitting its highest level since 2007 at one point.

 (Editing by Shri Navaratnam)