Nikkei surges to multi-year highs as dollar breaks above 100 yen, exporters climb
* Nikkei option settlement lifts resistance level - analysts * Nikkei on track to post biggest weekly gain since Dec 2009 * Profit-taking possible in late trade - analyst By Ayai Tomisawa TOKYO, May 10 (Reuters) - The Nikkei share average surged to another five-year high on Friday as the U.S. dollar managed to break above the elusive 100 yen mark, with exporters leading the charge as the Japanese currency's new lows looks set to further boost corporate earnings. The market is up 6.3 percent so far this week, on track for its biggest weekly gain since December 2009. "There is strong demand for currency-sensitive exporters today... even stronger than recent days," said a fund manager at a U.S. asset management firm. "Short-term investors are the main buyers, while long-term investors have yet to catch up with the steep rises recently. When they start buying aggressively, these exporters will likely rise further." The Nikkei jumped 2.5 percent to 14,551.45 by mid-morning trade after hitting 14,566.87, the highest since early June 2008. At the opening bell, the Nikkei 225 May options contracts settled at 14,601.95, which has now become a new near-term resistance level, market observers said. Exporters took the spotlight in early trade. Toyota Motor Corp rose 3.5 percent, Honda Motor Co advanced 2.5 percent and Komatsu Ltd gained 4.2 percent. The U.S. dollar punched through 100 yen on Thursday, its highest level against the currency in over four years, helped by data showing U.S. claims for unemployment benefits fell to the lowest level since January 2008. The dollar last traded at 100.81 yen. The Topix gained 2.2 percent to 1,207.03. "Many investors have waited for this moment when the yen drops to 100 against the dollar. It raises hopes that exporters will revise up their earnings for the business year," said Yutaka Miura, senior technical analyst at Mizuho Securities. With the earnings season in full swing and companies reporting strong results for the year ended March 2013, many of the blue chip companies have surprised investors with overly conservative forecasts for the current fiscal year. The likes of Toyota and Sony Corp based their foreign exchange assumptions at 90 yen to the dollar. However, traders were optimistic about the outlook for corporate Japan. "Conservative forecasts did not lead to pessimism in the market. They rather made us think, 'oh, they can generate such profits even at 90 yen, then their actual profits will be way better at the end of the day,'" said Takuya Takahashi, an analyst at Daiwa Securities.
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