Nikkei rises to one-week high on softer yen, solid Wall St

Sun Feb 9, 2014 8:53pm EST

* Macro funds cover their short positions - analyst
    * New Fed Chair Yellen's testimony focused - analysts
    * Olympus soars on strong results

    By Ayai Tomisawa
    TOKYO, Feb 10 (Reuters) - Japan's Nikkei share average rose
to a one-week high on Monday morning, moving further away from a
four-month low hit last week as gains on Wall Street and a
softer yen underpinned sentiment.
   Analysts said that foreign investors including macro funds
are cautiously stepping back to buy recently-battered Japanese
stocks as they keep an eye on key events this week. New Federal
Reserve Chair Janet Yellen delivers her first testimony to the
House on Tuesday and the senate on Thursday.
    "In the short-term, investors are covering their short
positions as risk appetite has come back," said Nobuhiko
Kuramochi, a strategist at Mizuho Securities. "But they are not
yet confident about further market rises until they get
assurance for U.S. policy and growth at Yellen's testimony this
week." 
    The Fed's tapering of its massive bond-buying programme  was
partly responsible for a renewed selloff in emerging markets
recently, and Kuramochi said investors will be keen to hear
Yellen's views on the stimulus-tapering and ructions in
developing economies.  
    The Nikkei advanced 1.2 percent to 14,634.01 in
mid-morning trade after rising as much as 14,659.97 earlier, the
highest since Feb. 3. The index has comfortably moved back to
trade above its 200-day moving average after it breached  the
line to hit a four-month low of 13,995.86 last week.
    In the United States, data on Friday showed nonfarm payrolls
added 113,000 jobs in January - well shy of the forecast for
185,000. The U.S. unemployment rate in January hit a five-year
low of 6.6 percent. 
    Strong job gains in construction hinted that cold weather
was probably not a major factor in January job creation, and
Wall Street gained as traders appeared to expect that the
January numbers will be revised upward next month.
    On Monday, exporters bounced after the dollar bought 102.65
yen, the highest since late January. 
    Toyota Motor Corp gained 1.3 percent, while Nissan
Motor Co surged 1.5 percent.
    Olympus Corp jumped 5.3 percent to a one-month high
after the company said its operating profit for the
April-December quarter more than doubled to 49.8 billion yen.
    The Topix rose 0.9 percent to 1,199.92, with 30 of
its 33 subsectors in positive territory.
    On the losing ledger, Asahi Glass tumbled to 7.7
percent to 538 yen, the lowest since November 2012 after the
glassmaker said its operating profit for the year through
December 2014 will likely fall 6.1 percent on the year to 75
billion yen.
    The JPX-Nikkei Index 400, an index launched this
year comprised of firms with high return on equity and strong
corporate governance, rose 0.8 percent to 10,819.88.
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