Nikkei vaults 21-month high, heads for best year gain since 2005

TOKYO Fri Dec 28, 2012 7:33am IST

A man points up as he passes an electronic monitor displaying market indices outside a brokerage in Tokyo December 27, 2012. REUTERS/Yuriko Nakao

A man points up as he passes an electronic monitor displaying market indices outside a brokerage in Tokyo December 27, 2012.

Credit: Reuters/Yuriko Nakao

Related Topics

TOKYO (Reuters) - Japan's Nikkei average rose to a 21-month high on Friday, heading for its best yearly gain since 2005, as exporters were buoyed by a weaker yen on expectations of aggressive monetary stimulus under new Prime Minister Shinzo Abe.

Export-focused firms leading the index higher included Toyota Motor Corp, Honda Motor Co, Canon Inc and Nikon Corp, up between 1.2 and 2.4 percent.

Index heavyweight and industrial robot maker Fanuc Corp gained 1.7 percent.

The Nikkei advanced 0.9 percent to 10,412.73 in mid-morning of its last trading day of the year, touching its highest level since March 11, 2011 and shrugging off a slump in Japan's factory output in November.

"We expect the yen to hit 90, and the Nikkei to reach 11,000 as early as late January or early February," said Shun Maruyama, chief Japan equity strategist at BNP Paribas.

"The market is pricing in a new inflation target of 2 percent. However, the problem is how to achieve the target. The market is focusing on what the BOJ will announce in its next meeting."

Maruyama said if the Bank of Japan, which is to hold its next policy meeting on January 21-22, fell short of market expectations, investors would take profit.

The benchmark Nikkei has rallied 20.2 percent over the past 6-1/2 weeks, on speculation that Abe will pursue policies to weaken the currency, which has hurt Japanese exporters' competitiveness and their overseas earnings when repatriated.

Asset performance in 2012: link.reuters.com/muc46s

The Nikkei is up 23.2 percent this year, on track for its best yearly gain since 2005, while the Japanese currency has lost 12.4 percent against the greenback this year, and is set to post its biggest annual loss since 2005.

The yen hit a more than two-year low of 86.64 to the dollar on Friday.

The broader Topix index gained 0.5 percent to 858.00.

Nippon Electric Glass Co, however, shed 3.5 percent after the glassmaker cut its earning forecast for the nine-month period through December, citing a price decline in glasses used in flat panel displays.

(Editing by Daniel Magnowski)

FILED UNDER:
Comments (0)
This discussion is now closed. We welcome comments on our articles for a limited period after their publication.

  • Most Popular
  • Most Shared

REUTERS SHOWCASE

Earnings Season

Earnings Season

Reliance Q4 sales rise, refining margin narrows.  Read 

Innovative Solution

Innovative Solution

Turning smog into jewels - a Dutch designer's solution to Beijing's pollution.  Video 

Insider Trading

Insider Trading

Rajaratnam's brother loses bid to dismiss insider trading charges.  Full Article 

Literary Giant Dies

Literary Giant Dies

Mourning and memories in Gabriel Garcia Marquez's languid hometown.  Full Article 

S&P on India

S&P on India

S&P: India's ratings to depend on next govt econ, fiscal policies.  Full Article 

Ambitious Aim

Ambitious Aim

In green car race, Toyota adds muscle with fuel-cell launch.  Full Article 

Bond Market

Bond Market

A star abroad, RBI boss riles bond traders at home  Full Article 

Reuters India Mobile

Reuters India Mobile

Get the latest news on the go. Visit Reuters India on your mobile device.  Full Coverage