Nikkei jumps 2 pct, MUFG lead bank shares after strong earnings

martes 3 de febrero de 2015 21:50 GYT

* Financial shares lead gains after MUFG's strong earnings
    * Oil, trading companies gain on rebound in oil prices
    * Optimism on Greece underpins sentiment

    By Hideyuki Sano
    TOKYO, Feb 4 (Reuters) - Japanese shares rose on Wednesday
as banks outperformed on strong earnings from Mitsubishi UFJ
Financial Group while hopes for a new Greek debt swap
deal and a further recovery in oil prices underpinned the
overall mood.
    The Nikkei share average rose 2.0 percent to
17,677.73, extending its recovery from Tuesday's one week low of
    Financial shares led the gains after Mitsubishi UFJ
Financial Group posted better than expected profits in
the three months to December. 
    Mitsubishi UFJ rose 5.2 percent while rival SMFG
 gained 2.7 percent. The Tokyo Stock Exchange's banking
shares subindex rose 3.6 percent.
    "Big profits at banks are boosting expectations that banks
will lift shareholder returns," said Toshiyuki Kanayama, market
analyst at Monex Securities.
    Although a sudden jump in Japanese bond yields triggered
some selling in domestic shares on Tuesday, higher long-term
bond yields are also seen boosting the revenue of lenders in the
longer run. 
    That scenario benefits insurers, which invest a big part of
their portfolio in domestic bonds. The TSE's insurance companies
subindex rose 3.6 percent, with Dai-ichi Life
 up 4.8 percent.
    The market was also helped by a positive tone in global
share markets after a new Greek government appeared to soften
its stance on a debt writedown and as oil prices extended their
recovery from six-year lows.
    As Brent crude rose 16 percent in the past three
sessions, investors also bought back shares that had been hit by
falling energy prices, such as oil companies and trading houses.
    Energy developer Inpex gained 4.1 percent while
Mitsubishi Corp, which is due to announce its earnings
later in the day, gained 4.1 percent.
    Elsewhere Terumo jumped 4.3 percent, hitting a
six-year high after the medical equipment maker posted upbeat
earnings and announced share buybacks.
    Bucking the trend, Gungho Online Entertainment fell
after the online game developer reported slower sales in
    Japanese earning announcements are in full swing, with
companies including Toyota Motor, Fuji Heavy Industries
 and Hitachi due to report their Oct-Dec
    The broader Topix rose 2.1 percent while the
JPX-Nikkei Index 400 also gained 2.1 percent.
    The market showed muted response to media reports that the
Japanese government is likely to name academic Yutaka Harada, a
proponent of aggressive steps to end deflation, to the central
bank's policy board. 

 (Editing by Shri Navaratnam)