Nikkei tops 20,000 for first time in 15 years; up 2.4 pct on week

viernes 10 de abril de 2015 02:51 GYT
 

* Nikkei succumbs to profit-taking after hitting 20,000 mark
    * Market divided over whether 20,000 goal or mid-point in
rally
    * Drugmakers fall
    * Retailers remain upbeat on economic outlook

    By Hideyuki Sano and Ayai Tomisawa
    TOKYO, April 10 (Reuters) - Japan's Nikkei share average
topped the psychological 20,000-point mark on Friday for the
first time in 15 years on hopes of stronger corporate earnings,
and gained 2.4 percent on the week.
    The Nikkei rose as high as 20,006 before ending 
down 0.2 percent at 19,907.63.
    "Market opinion is divided over whether the 20,000 mark is
just one point in a rally or a goal. Up until now, both camps
were buying but from now some investors will be selling," said
Masayuki Doshida, senior market analyst at Rakuten Securities.
    The rally has been driven by many factors, including hopes
of higher shareholder returns, a rise in corporate earnings, a
recovery in domestic consumption and more share buying, both
real and imagined, by Japanese public investors.
    The market expects Japanese earnings to rise 10 to 15
percent this year, but with the Nikkei already up 14 percent so
far this year, some investors see limited justification to 
chase them much higher.
    "Although we may see double-digit gains at the end of the
fiscal year, companies will most likely give conservative
forecasts at their full-year earnings releases (in May)," said
Fumio Matsumoto, a fund manager at Dalton Capital Japan.
    "That's when the market may see a correction."
    Drugmakers, the best performers so far this year,
were among leading decliners on Friday, falling 1.7 percent.
    Astellas Pharma fell 2.6 percent. Eisai Co
, which has risen 80 percent this year, dropped 5.0
percent after it said it would cut about 450 jobs, or about 25
percent of its workforce in the United States. 
    Fast Retailing, the operator of Uniqlo casual
clothing chain, rose 2.5 percent after it raised its guidance
for the year ending in August.
    Ryohin Keikaku shot up 11.7 percent after the 
operator of Muji stores forecast solid profit growth for the
year to February.
    The valuation of retailers and some other domestic
demand-oriented shares, such as food companies, has become high
by historical standards.
    But some market players say these shares are not necessarily
expensive given that the prospects that Japan is exiting more
than a decade of deflation mean their revenues are likely to
grow even without economic growth in real terms.
    The broader Topix fell 0.3 percent to 1,589.54 while
 the JPX-Nikkei Index 400 shed 0.4 percent to
14,456.65.

 (Editing by Kim Coghill)