Nikkei nears 33-month high after Japan escapes G20 criticism

Sun Feb 17, 2013 9:01pm EST

* Banks and carmakers jump, yen nudges towards 94 to the
dollar
    * DeNa loses out as poor overseas performance highlighted

    By Sophie Knight
    TOKYO, Feb 18 (Reuters) - Japan's Nikkei share average
jumped 2.3 percent in early trade on Monday, with exporters and
banks leading the pack after the yen softened on the G20's
decision not to single out Japan for undertaking policies that
have weakened its currency.
    The Nikkei added 254.32 points to 11,429.15, with financials
and real estate contributing to the benchmark's gains as
investors bet that the G20's apparent approval of Japan's
reflationary policies will help spur economic recovery.
    The benchmark is now just 0.6 percent away from the 33-month
high it struck on February 6 of 11,498,42. 
    Japan's top three banks were among the six most-traded
stocks. Mitsubishi UFJ Financial Group Inc led the
gains, jumping 5.3 percent, while Mizuho Financial Group Inc
 and Sumitomo Mitsui Financial Group Inc were
close behind, putting on 4.1 and 4.8 percent, respectively. 
    The real estate sector was the second
best-performing sub-index, advancing 3.4 percent. Tokyo Tatemono
Co Ltd added 2.4 percent after JP Morgan said it saw
its profits improving in the next fiscal year, while Tokyu Land
Corp gained 2.5 percent.
    A statement issued by G20 policymakers at the weekend did
not single out Japan, though it said members should refrain from
competitive devaluations and that monetary policy should be
directed only at price stability and growth. 
    Investors took the statement as a signal to continue the
one-way bets against the yen that paused last week before the
meeting. By mid-morning, the yen was trading at 94 to the dollar
 just above a 33-month low of 94.465 struck last Monday.
    "There is not much else to go on today except the currency,
so everything depends on where the yen goes," said Toshiyuki
Kanayama, senior market analyst at Monex. 
    The broader Topix rose 2.2 percent to 962.48.
    Yen weakness has helped the benchmark gain about 30 percent
since mid-November, when Shinzo Abe, then leader of the
opposition and now prime minister, began calling for bolder
fiscal and monetary policy to pull Japan out of deflation.
    Shares of carmakers, whose overseas revenues will be swollen
by a softer yen, advanced in heavy trade. Toyota Motor Corp
 added 2.7 percent, while Honda Motor Co Ltd 
gained 2.8 percent. 
    
    LOSING THE GAME?
    Online game platform operator DeNA Co Ltd shed 6.3
percent after the Nikkei business daily mentioned its
disappointing foray into overseas markets when it revealed games
makers Capcom Co Ltd and Konami Corp are
aiming to expand abroad.
    "The foreign market has not been good for DeNa, which also
only gets a small cut as a games platform rather than a maker,"
said Yasuo Sakuma, portfolio manager of Bayview Asset
Management. 
    "There are no gross expectations for DeNA now. The rules of
the games industry have changed - the old winners are now
losers." 
    Capcom dropped 0.2 percent while Konami gained 0.7 percent
on the news on Monday morning. 
    By contrast, Sakuma singled out shares of Gungho Online
Entertainment Inc, which have jumped more than tenfold
since last July due to the popularity of its Puzzles and Dragons
games. Gungho's shares were up 16.5 percent on Monday morning.
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