Nikkei rises after Fanuc jumps on better investor relations plan

jueves 12 de marzo de 2015 22:29 GYT
 

* Market supported by Japan recovery hopes, ECB easing
    * Fanuc jumps 12 pct on plan to boost dividend, talk to
investors
    * Recent gainers such as pharmaceuticals decline

    By Hideyuki Sano
    TOKYO, March 13 (Reuters) - Japanese shares extended gains
on Friday as industrial robot maker Fanuc jumped more than 10
percent on a report that it will consider raising its dividend
and buying back stock.
    The market, looking set to log its eight straight weeks of
gains based on broad Topix index, was also underpinned
by fresh fund inflows unleashed by the European Central Bank's
quantitative easing.
    The Nikkei share average rose 1.3 percent to
19,242.17 points by late morning, a level last seen in 2000,
while the broader Topix rose 0.9 percent to 1,560.52, a
seven-year high.
    So far this year, both the Nikkei and the Topix are up more
than 10 percent.
    The Nikkei's outperformance is entirely due to 12 percent
gains in Fanuc, which has a disproportionately high weighting in
the Nikkei.
    The company, known for its less-than-amicable stance towards
investor relations, is considering dividend hikes and seeks
better relations with investors, the Nikkei business daily
reported. 
    Fanuc's about-turn could boost investors' appetite for
Japanese shares as a successful case of Prime Minister Shinzo
Abe's efforts to improve corporate governance and return on
equities at Japanese companies.
    "Fanuc hasn't had dialogue with investors, with its strong
belief that a manufacturer should focus on manufacturing and
should not indulge in financial techniques. But its stance to
ignore investors was starting look extreme as time changes,"
said Masayuki Kubota, chief strategist at Rakuten Securities.
    Japanese shares have been also supported by expectations
that the country is one of major winners from the fall in oil
prices.
    But what is amplifying their gains are floods of liquidity
from the European Central Bank as it started quantitative easing
this week.
    Indeed the market's rally began in the week when the ECB
announced its bond buying plan in late January.
    "German and Italian shares are up about 20 percent on the
ECB so far this year while U.S. shares were almost flat as the
Fed is expected to raise rates. And Japanese shares come
somewhere in the middle. This tells you all. Its driven by
expansion of liquidity," Norihiro Fujito, senior investment
strategist at Mitsubishi UFJ Morgan Stanley Securities.
    "While Japanese economic sentiment indicators are improving,
the recovery in the economy is actually very slow. The rally may
continue but I would say risks are building up," he added.
    In fact, while a broad range of sectors gained on Friday,
investors took profits in recent gainers such as pharmaceutical
companies, which fell 1.0 percent.
    The JPX-Nikkei Index 400 rose 0.9 percent.

 (Editing by Kim Coghill)