Nikkei scales 6-month high as exporters rally on weak yen

Wed Nov 27, 2013 9:01pm EST

* Nikkei may head towards 16,000 by year-end - analyst
    * Sumco jumps to 4-mth high on report on higher profits

    By Ayai Tomisawa
    TOKYO, Nov 28 (Reuters) - Japan's Nikkei share average sped
to a 6-month high on Thursday morning, as a slump in the yen
jolted exporters higher on expectations of improved earnings. 
    The dollar traded above 102.00 yen for the first time
since May 29 after data showed the number of Americans filing
new claims for unemployment aid unexpectedly fell last week.
    The Nikkei gained 1.1 percent to 15,624.12 in
mid-morning trade after rising as high as 15,660.26, within
sight of a 5-1/2 year peak of 15,942.60 marked on May 23. 
    The Topix advanced 0.8 percent to 1,256.56.
    Japanese stocks were also buoyed by the Dow and the S&P 500,
which closed at record highs on Wednesday. U.S. markets will be
shut on Thursday for the Thanksgiving holiday.
    Exporters took advantage of the yen's fall, with Panasonic
Corp rising 2.0 percent, Honda Motor Co 
soaring 2.0 percent and Canon Inc adding 1.1 percent.
    "The yen's weakness is lifting hopes for even higher profits
for exporters this fiscal year," said Hiroyuki Fukunaga, the
chief executive of Investrust, adding that he expects the index
to reach 16,000 by the end of the year.
    A weak yen sharpens exporters' competitive edge overseas and
boosts their dollar earnings when repatriated.
    Other notable gainers included Sumco Corp, soaring
10 percent to a four-month high after the Nikkei business daily
reported that the wafer maker is expected to report a 10 percent
jump in its operating profit to over 3 billion yen for the
August-October quarter.
    Mitsubishi Heavy Industries Ltd jumped 3.0 percent
and was the 10th most traded stock by turnover after the Nikkei
reported that surging demand for liquefied natural gas would
increase transporting needs, creating an opportunity for
Japanese maritime transport companies. 
    Galvanized by the Japanese government's massive fiscal and
monetary stimulus, the benchmark Nikkei has risen about 50
percent this year, gunning for its best yearly performance since
1972.