Nikkei up slightly, holds at 6-month peak as financials gain

Sun Nov 17, 2013 8:25pm EST

* Kyocera, Toyota Motor slip after stellar gains last week
    * Financials strong after recent robust quarterly results

    By Dominic Lau
    TOKYO, Nov 18 (Reuters) - Japan's Nikkei rose slightly to
hold at six-month highs on Monday morning as investors scooped
up financial shares after recent strong results, though recent
outperformers like Toyota Motor Corp took a breather.
    The Nikkei was up 0.4 percent at 15,224.04 after
hitting a six-month high of 15,253.24 earlier in the session. 
    The benchmark, which has held at six-month highs in the past
few sessions, ramped up 7.7 percent last week to mark its best
weekly rise in four years.
    It is up 46.5 percent so far this year, spurred by Japan's
massive fiscal and monetary stimulus. If the gains were to hold
for the rest of the year, it would mark the index's best yearly
performance since 1972.
    Kyocera Corp lost 1.1 percent after surging 7.6
percent last week - its biggest one-week percentage gain in six
months, while Toyota slipped 0.2 percent. 
    "There is a little bit of buying out there mostly in
financials and some of the laggards," a senior dealer at a
European bank in Tokyo said, adding that their buy orders
outpaced sell by two to one and both long-only investors and
hedge funds were active.
    However, the market might see profit-taking if the index
advanced further, he said.
    Sony Financial Holdings Inc strengthened 1.2
percent after its six-month net profit reached 56 percent of its
full-year target.
    Banking shares extended last week's gains after they posted
strong quarterly results and lifted their full-year profit
guidance.
    Sumitomo Mitsui Financial Group climbed 3.5
percent, while Mitsubishi UFJ Financial Group rose 1.1
percent and Mizuho Financial Group firmed 0.9 percent.
    With 98 percent of the Nikkei companies reporting quarterly
results, two-third of them either beat or met analysts'
expectations, data from Thomson Reuters StarMine showed. That
compared with 44 percent in the three months a year ago.
    The broader Topix index added 0.5 percent to
1,245.46, with volume at 36 percent of full daily average for
the past 90 trading days.
    Tokyo Electric Power Co advanced 1.6 percent after
sources said the embattled company planned to shed more than
1,000 jobs via voluntary retirements by the second half of 2014
as it seeks to win more financial aid to clean up the crippled
Fukushima nuclear plant, wrecked by the massive earthquake and
tsunami in 2011. 
    Unicharm Corp, a disposable diaper maker, climbed
3.5 percent and rival Pigeon Corp jumped 6.4 percent on
news of China's plans to ease its one-child policy.
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