Nikkei rises for fifth day, gains limited ahead of BOJ

Tue Nov 20, 2012 8:37am IST

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* Nikkei faces resistance at 9,200 points
    * Shippers lead gains
    * Market cautious on Abe's demands - analyst

    TOKYO, Nov 20 (Reuters) - The Nikkei share average extended
its rise into a fifth day on Tuesday, helped by optimism over
U.S. fiscal talks, but gains were limited as investors took
profits and awaited a Bank of Japan policy decision later in the
session.
    The benchmark index hit a two-month high the previous day on
growing expectations that Japan's main opposition Liberal
Democratic Party (LDP) will win next month's election and step
up pressure on the BOJ to ease monetary policy.
    The central bank is expected to keep policy unchanged on
Tuesday, having just eased in September and October, but
investors will look to see how BOJ Governor Masaaki Shirakawa
responds to the increased political heat when he addresses a
media briefing following the policy meeting. 
    Ahead of the Dec. 16 national election, the leader of the
LDP, Shinzo Abe, has called on the BOJ for bolder policy action,
including "unlimited easing".
    "Investors have started to review what Abe has said and are
being careful not to have too many expectations for everything
he has said," said Takuya Takahashi, a market analyst at Daiwa
Securities. "The market is sceptical that the BOJ would give in
to every demand."
    By the midday break, the Nikkei was up 0.1 percent
at 9,162.08 after rising to as high as 9,200.85. The broader
Topix gained 0.2 percent to 763.67, with volume at 60
percent of its full daily average for the past 90 trading days.
    Market participants said investor sentiment remains upbeat
as global stocks surged on Monday to recover some of last week's
sharp losses. There are hopes U.S. lawmakers will reach a deal
to avert $600 billion in tax increases and spending cuts due to
start in January - the "fiscal cliff" that threatens to send the
U.S. economy back into recession.
    Prospects that Greece will get a lifeline to stay solvent
also lifted investor's risk appetite. 
    "There is more room to rise in the Japanese market as this
time, finally, there are signs that lingering problems about the
U.S. fiscal cliff and euro-zone debt are headed for a solution,"
said Hiroichi Nishi, general manager at SMBC Nikko Securities.
    Market players said on Tuesday, the Nikkei may hover near
the 9,200 line, which the market has seen as a resistance level
for a few weeks.
    "After breaching this line, there was a sense of achievement
and profit-taking kicked in," Nishi said.
    Shippers led gains, with Mitsui OSK Lines, Kawasaki
Kisen and Nippon Yusen rising between 1.9
percent and 4.1 percent due to a rise in the Baltic Dry Index
, a gauge of rates to transport dry bulk commodities by
sea.
    Exporters were weak after rallying for the past few
sessions, with Honda Motor Co, Canon Inc and
Nikon Corp falling between 0.1 percent and 0.7 percent.
    The Nikkei has rallied 5.68 percent in the past four
sessions, taking its year-to-date gain to 8.25 percent, trailing
a 10.28 percent rise in the U.S. S&P 500 and a 9.8
percent advance in the pan-European STOXX Europe 600 
index.
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