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

jueves 19 de febrero de 2015 02:47 GYT

TOKYO, Feb 19 (Reuters) - Japanese stocks rose to a 15-year
high on Thursday, helped by gains in financial stocks, while
Sony Corp jumped on a well-received business plan.    
    The Nikkei share average ended 0.4 percent higher to
 18,264.79, its highest closing level since May 2000.
    Market players said that a combination of factors have
helped to underpin demand from foreign investors for Japanese
    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
    "The Nikkei finally broke above an upper range of $154 in 
dollar terms," said Hikaru Sato, a senior technical analyst at
Daiwa Securities.
    Meanwhile, the dollar eased to 118.65 yen, from
119.26 before the U.S. Federal Reserve minutes were released
which showed that officials expressed concern that raising
interest rates too soon could chill the U.S. economic recovery.
    "That (strong yen) should usually be negative to the
Japanese market. However, the Nikkei deviated from the yen's
move," Sato said. "If such a trend becomes a pattern, it's a
positive thing because it's a sign that Japanese companies'
competitiveness has risen based on a weak yen but they won't
have to rely too much on a weaker yen anymore."
    Among Thursday's gainers, 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 sensor and PlayStation operations.
    Banking shares were higher, with Mitsubishi UFJ Financial
Group and Mizuho Financial Group both rising
3.6 percent.
    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 138.70. 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 0.8 percent to 1,494.93, the
highest closing level since December 2007.
    The JPX-Nikkei Index 400 gained 0.8 percent to

 (Reporting by Ayai Tomisawa; Editing by Eric Meijer)