Nikkei hits 15-year high, retail fund flows support

miércoles 8 de abril de 2015 02:51 GYT

* Individual investors buying underpins market
    * Retailers jump, Takashimaya gains after earnings
    * Market benefits from fund reallocation from Wall St

    By Hideyuki Sano
    TOKYO, April 8 (Reuters) - Tokyo's benchmark index hit a
15-year high on Wednesday after Japanese retail investors
ploughed a sizable amount of cash into new stock mutual funds
and as regional bourses appeared to  benefit from rotation of
funds out of U.S. equities.
    Retailers and other domestic-demand oriented shares led the
gains, with department store operator Takashimaya 
erasing earlier losses to gain sharply despite reporting modest
    "There are signs that Japanese market is decoupling
aggressively from US markets. Despite some choppiness emerging
in US, Japanese market is reflecting positive domestic factors
such as earning expectations and inbound tourism," said Stefan
Worral, director of equity sales at Credit Suisse.
    The Nikkei rose 0.8 percent to 19,789.81, closing at
its highest level since April 2000, even as Wall Street shares
posted small losses the previous day.
    The Nikkei has gained 3.0 percent so far this month, helped
by the launch of two new equity investment trusts this week,
which drew about 160 billion yen ($1.3 billion) from investors
in total.
    Signs of strong appetite from Japanese individual investors
were seen as positive in a market which had been largely driven 
in recent months by public institutional investors, such as 
government pension funds.
    Market players also noted that some investors could be
shifting funds to Japan and other Asian markets from U.S.
shares, which have been curbed by concerns on possible policy
tightening by the Federal Reserve and a strong dollar.
    "Japanese shares still look relatively attractive. Some
exporters still keep conservative assumption on the exchange
rate, and there aren't any investors who have excessive long
position in the market," said Tetsuro Ii, the president of
Commons Asset Management.
    The Bank of Japan kept the pace of its monetary expansion 
unchanged on Wednesday as expected, but a small number of
investors are speculating the central bank might step up its
asset purchases soon as Japan's core consumer inflation is
    Domestic demand oriented shares remained well-bid, with
retailers rising 1.7 percent as some of them benefit
from a rising number of tourists from China and other Asian
    Takashimaya rose 4.0 percent even though its
earnings were mostly in line with analyst expectations.
Takashimaya has risen over 30 percent so far this year.
    Rival Isetan Mitsukoshi rose 3.1 percent, extending
its year-to-date gains to 44.8 percent, the fourth best
performance among the Nikkei constituents,
    The broader Topix rose 0.6 percent to 1,588.47 while
the JPX-Nikkei Index 400 gained 0.7 percent to
    ($1 = 120.1700 yen)

 (Editing by Shri Navaratnam)