Nikkei rises to new 4-1/2 year high as BOJ leadership approved
* Exporters, warehouse stocks lead the gains * Approval of new BOJ leadership will boost hopes for swift monetary policy - analyst By Ayai Tomisawa TOKYO, March 15 (Reuters) - The Nikkei share average rose to a new 4-1/2 year high on Friday on growing expectations that the central bank will ease monetary policy aggressively under a new leadership, which was approved by parliament. Japan's parliament approved Haruhiko Kuroda as the Bank of Japan's next governor and Kikuo Iwata and Hiroshi Nakaso to serve as the BOJ's two deputy governors. "Approval by the upper house will boost hopes for more decisive and swift policy easing," said Yoshiyuki Kondo, an analyst at Daiwa Securities. Exporters, whose earnings will likely be boosted by a weaker yen on hopes for bolder policy easing, were in favor. Companies such as warehouse owners and railroad operators with large land holdings outperformed, helped by expectations reflationary policy will raise their asset values. The Nikkei gained 1.0 percent to 12,499.05 in mid-morning trade, after rising to as high as 12,502.81, the highest level since early September 2008. Among exporters, Toyota Motor Corp gained 1.4 percent, Honda Motor Co added 2.2 percent and Nikon Corp surged 2.0 percent. Inui Warehouse Co soared 7.5 percent, Shibusawa Warehouse Co gained 3.1 percent and logistics operator Mitsui-Soko Co rose 2.2 percent. "Reflation stocks such as these warehouses and real estate will probably continue to rise before the release of land prices by the government next week. People started seeing office rents in the Tokyo metropolitan area rising, and they want to see how much land prices are rising as well," Daiwa's Kondo said. East Japan Railway Co added 0.8 percent, while Odakyu Electric Railway Co gained 1.3 percent. Gains in U.S. and European stocks are also bolstered investor risk appetite, analysts said. "We see several signs of a little bit of overheating in the Japanese market, but strength in the overseas market serves as a tailwind to Japanese equities," said Hiroichi Nishi, an assistant general manager at SMBC Nikko Securities. The Nikkei traded 6.5 percent above its 25-day moving average. A level above 5 percent suggests that the market is overbought. The Dow Jones industrial average ended at another record high, helped by data showing U.S. jobless benefit claims falling.