Nikkei rises to new 15-year high on Greek deal

domingo 22 de febrero de 2015 22:13 GYT

* Investors flock to Japan for cheap valuations - analyst
    * Takata underperforms after U.S. slaps on daily fine

    By Ayai Tomisawa
    TOKYO, Feb 23 (Reuters) - Japan's Nikkei share average hit a
new 15-year high on Monday after euro zone finance ministers
reached a deal to extend heavily indebted Greece's financial
rescue by four months.
    The Nikkei was up 0.9 percent at 18,490.98 points by
mid-morning after rising as high as 18,509.08 earlier, its
strongest level since May 2000.
    The agreement removed the immediate threat that Greece could
run out of money next month and be forced out of the single
currency area. The new leftist-led Athens government now can try
to negotiate longer-term debt relief with official creditors.
    "The debt deal is giving comfort to the market," said
Masashi Oda, chief investment officer at Sumitomo Mitsui Trust
Bank, but added that investors' risk appetite is mainly due to
Japanese shares' attractive valuations.
    He said that the Greek problem itself has not been resolved
completely, and it may take a while to settle. But since the
market consensus has been that its exit from the euro zone
should not have a major contagion risk to the region anyway, the
impact from the Greek problem should be limited to the Japanese
    "Investors buy Japanese stocks because their valuations are
cheaper than its peers in advanced markets," Oda said.
    The Topix's average price-earnings ratio stands at 15.55,
while the P/E ration for the S&P 500 is at 19.64.
    Exporters rose, with Toyota Motor Corp rising 1.0
percent and Nissan Motor Co gaining 1.7 percent.
    Outperforming the market was Itoham Foods, which
gained as much as 5.2 percent to a three-week high after raising
its net profit outlook to 11 billion yen from 5.5 billion yen
for the year ending March. 
    Bucking the strength, Takata Corp dropped more than
3 percent after U.S. regulators on Friday slapped the company
with a $14,000 daily fine for failing to fully cooperate with a
probe of its faulty air bags. 
    The broader Topix gained 0.7 percent to 1,511.00 and
the JPX-Nikkei Index 400 advanced 0.8 percent to

 (Editing by Kim Coghill)