8 de abril de 2015 / 2:53 / en 3 años

Nikkei climbs to near 15-year high, retail fund flows support

* Retail investors buying underpins market
    * BOJ seen keeping policy unchanged but some speculate on
    * Takashimaya gains after earnings

    By Hideyuki Sano
    TOKYO, April 8 (Reuters) - Tokyo's benchmark index edged up
to near 15-year highs on Wednesday after Japanese retail
investors ploughed a sizable  amount of cash into new stock
mutual funds.
    Further underpinning the mood was talk the Bank of Japan
could step up its asset purchase programme as part of its
efforts to drive up inflation towards its 2 percent target,
although expectations are for the BOJ to stand pat on policy
when it delivers its decision later on Wednesday.
    "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 Nikkei rose 0.4 percent to 19,723.42, near its
March 23 intraday high of 19,778.60, which was its highest level
since 2000.
    It has gained 2.7 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.
    The BOJ has promised to buy 3 trillion yen of equity funds a
year and is expected to maintain this pace on Wednesday.
    But some investors are speculating the central bank might
step up its asset purchase as Japan's core consumer inflation is
slowing, and could briefly turn negative later this year.
    Some financial brokerage shares are being bought ahead of
the BOJ's policy announcement, expected some time after 0300
GMT. Brokerage shares gained 0.8 percent, with Nomura
Holdings rising 1.2 percent. 
    Domestic demand oriented shares, such as retailers, remained
firm before some of them beging reporting their earnings. 
    Department store operator Takashimaya rose 1.3
percent after its earning met analyst expectations. Takashimaya
has risen over 26 percent so far this year.
    Rival Isetan Mitsukoshi rose 1.4 percent, extending
its year-to-date gains to 42.5 percent, the fifth best
performance among the Nikkei constituents.
    The broader Topix rose 0.4 percent to 1,584.05 while
the JPX-Nikkei Index 400 gained 0.4 percent to
    ($1 = 120.1700 yen)

 (Editing by Shri Navaratnam)

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