Nikkei rises to near 8-year high as Wall Street gains

domingo 15 de febrero de 2015 23:15 GYT
 

* Nikkei hits highest since July 2007
    * Financials, insurance stocks higher
    * Fanuc contributes hefty positive points on capital
spending news

    By Ayai Tomisawa
    TOKYO, Feb 16 (Reuters) - Japan's Nikkei share average rose
to a near eight-year high on Monday, helped by Wall Street's
gains, while investors digested weaker-than-expected domestic
growth data.
    The Nikkei rose 0.8 percent to 18,031.84 points at
midday, after reaching as high as 18,074.26 earlier, the highest
level since July 2007.
    Japan's economy rebounded from recession in the final
quarter of last year but growth was weaker than expected as
household and corporate spending disappointed, underlining the
challenge premier Shinzo Abe faces in shaking off decades of
stagnation. 
    Though the annualised 2.2 percent expansion in
October-December was smaller than a 3.7 percent increase
forecast in a Reuters poll, stock market investors stayed
optimistic about consumption going forward.
    "Although the figure was weaker than expected, the data
showed that Japan's economy is recovering steadily," said
Hiroyuki Nakai, chief strategist at Tokai Tokyo Research Center.
    "Sentiment is upbeat this year because what's different from
last year is that we don't have a tax hike so consumer
confidence should stay strong."
    Sectors sensitive to domestic demand rose, such as financial
and real estate sectors.
    Mitsubishi UFJ Financial Group gained 3.3 percent,
Sumitomo Mitsui Financial Group advanced 3.6 percent
and Mitsubishi Estate Co rose 1.2 percent.
    Insurance shares also outperformed, with Dai-ichi Life
Insurance Co rising 2.2 percent and T&D Holdings
 soaring 4.1 percent.
    Index heavyweight Fanuc Corp gained 3.8 percent and
contributed a hefty 32 positive gains to the Nikkei benchmark
after it said that it will spend about 100 billion yen to expand
output capacity of core products in Japan. 
    The broader Topix gained 0.8 percent to 1,460.95,
with 28 of its 33 subsectors in positive territory. The
JPX-Nikkei Index 400 advanced 0.8 percent to
13,246.29.
    

 (Editing by Kim Coghill)