Nikkei rises to 15-yr high helped by financials; Sony jumps on growth plan

miércoles 18 de febrero de 2015 22:52 GYT

* Sony jumps to highest since April 2010 on mid-term
business plan
    * Recent Japan Post's move to invest in risky assets buoys
sentiment - trader
    * Toraku ratio suggests profit-taking possible in near term

    By Ayai Tomisawa
    TOKYO, Feb 19 (Reuters) - Japanese stocks rose to a 15-year
high on Thursday morning, helped by gains in financial and
shipping companies, and as  Sony Corp jumped on a
well-received business plan.     
    The Nikkei share average gained 0.5 percent to 
18,283.73 at the midday break after earlier rising to 18,322.50,
its highest level since May 2000.
    At midday, the value of trade on the Topix stood at 1.2
trillion yen, suggesting that daily value is heading for 3
trillion yen.
    Market players said that a combination of factors have
helped to underpin demand for Japanese stocks among foreign
investors. These include news state-owned Japan Post Holdings
Co's IPO-JAPP.T ditching of its conservative approach to
investments with its $5.1 billion takeover of Australia's Toll
Holdings, and the Nikkei breaking new ground on its dollar-based
    "U.S. long-only (investors), who look at things on a dollar
basis, say that the Nikkei is finally going into new ground,"
said a senior trader at a foreign brokerage. "Finally, we are
broken out of a range we've been trading last year. The highest
recently was $152.2, right now it's $154.2, so it's made that
nice break out."
    Japan Post also said on Wednesday it would review its
banking unit's $1.7 trillion asset portfolio, signalling a major
shift in investment strategy at one of the world's biggest
institutional investors. 
    Sony soared as much as 4.0 percent to 3,300 yen, the highest
since April 2010 after saying that it aims to boost operating
profit 25-fold within three years by growing its camera sensors
and PlayStation units. 
    Banking shares were higher, with Mitsubishi UFJ Financial
Group rising 2.5 percent and Mizuho Financial Group
 up 2.7 percent.
    Shippers were also in demand. Mitsui OSK Lines 
added 0.9 percent and Kawasaki Kisen gained 2.5
    Some analysts noted overbought technical signals in the
market suggest near-term profit-taking could be possible.
    The toraku ratio, or up-down ration, rose to 136.58 as of
Wednesday. A level above 120 signals an overbought market. The
ratio is calculated by dividing the 25-day moving average of
stocks on the Tokyo Stock Exchange's first section that gained
by the 25-day average of those that fell.
    The broader Topix rose 0.6 percent to 1,491.51, and 
the JPX-Nikkei Index 400 gained 0.6 percent to

 (Editing by Shri Navaratnam)