Nikkei hits 2-month high as China cuts rates, Hitachi and Panasonic soar
* Weak yen lifts exporters
* ECB and China paved the way for more easing by BOJ - analyst
* Shippers fall on weaker-than-expected earnings
By Ayai Tomisawa
TOKYO, Oct 26 (Reuters) - Japan's Nikkei share average rose to a fresh two-month high after China's surprising rate cut lifted risk sentiment, while bellwethers Hitachi Ltd and Panasonic Corp surged on stronger earnings expectations.
The Nikkei gained 1.1 percent to 19,028.41 in midmorning trade after hitting as high as 19,088.76, the highest since Aug. 28.
China unexpectedly cut its benchmark one-year lending rate by 25 basis points to 4.35 percent and lowered the reserve requirement ratio for all banks in a bid to lift a sagging economy.
Risk sentiment has already been boosted by Thursday's message from European Central Bank President Mario Draghi that the bank was ready to adjust "the size, composition and duration" of its quantitative easing program.
"The ECB and China paved the way for additional easing by the Bank Of Japan," said Hiroaki Mino, director of investment information department at Mizuho Securities. Continuación...