Nikkei rises to near 3-week high after ECB's stimulus plan

jueves 22 de enero de 2015 22:26 GYT

* ECB soothes mkt; oil prices key to euro zone til
    * For the week, Nikkei has risen 3.7 pct
    * Yaskawa jumps after raising profit, dividend forecasts

    By Ayai Tomisawa
    TOKYO, Jan 23 (Reuters) - Japan's Nikkei share average rose
to a near three-week high on Friday morning as risk sentiment
was buoyed after the European Central Bank unveiled a
bond-buying scheme to help revive the region's economy and stave
off deflation.
    The Nikkei gained 0.9 percent to 17,488.10 in
mid-morning trade, after climbing as high as 17,532.06 earlier,
the highest level since Jan. 5.
    For the week, the Nikkei has risen 3.7 percent.
    ECB President Mario Draghi said the central bank would
embark on a quantitative easing programme which, together with
existing schemes, will pump 60 billion euros a month into the
euro zone economy from this March until September next year.
    The ECB programme aims to buoy the flagging euro zone
economy and stave off deflation.
    "The decision was clearly positive," said Akio Yoshino,
chief economist at Amundi Japan. "But we can't be overly
optimistic until March."
    Between now and March, when the programme will be embarked
upon, oil prices will be key to the region's economy, he said.
    "If inflation expectations fade out before March due to weak
oil prices, it would become challenging to pull the region out
of deflation," Yoshino said.
    On Friday, most sectors were in positive territory.
Bellwether exporters were in demand, with Toyota Motor Corp
, Honda Motor Co <7267.T. and Sony Corp rising
between 1.1 percent-3.0 percent.
    Japanese corporate earnings results were also in focus.
    Yaskawa Electric Corp soared 4.5 percent to 1,552
yen, the highest since Jan. 5 after the company raised its net
profit forecast to 23.5 billion yen from 22.5 billion yen for
the year ending March. It also raised its annual dividend
forecast to 20 yen/share from 18 yen/share.
    Index-heavy stocks also rose, with SoftBank Corp 
advancing 2.7 percent and Fast Retailing Co adding 1.8
    The broader Topix gained 0.8 percent to 1,401.14 and
the JPX-Nikkei Index 400 added 0.8 percent to

 (Editing by Jacqueline Wong)