Nikkei rises as market shrugs off poor US data; Yahoo, Mixi soar

Thu Feb 13, 2014 9:07pm EST

* Long-term investors want to be long - trader
    * Nikkei options seen settled at 14,536.09 - traders
    * Yahoo Japan jumps on inclusion in Goldman's conviction buy
list
    * Kirin tumbles to 1-year low on weaker-than-expected profit
forecast

    By Ayai Tomisawa
    TOKYO, Feb 14 (Reuters) - Japan's Nikkei share average rose
on Friday morning, tracking gains on Wall Street as investors
shrugged off weak U.S. data and stayed optimistic over the
long-term economic outlook.
    Among notable movers, Yahoo Japan Corp jumped 4.1
percent to a three-week high of 615 yen after Goldman Sachs
added the stock to its "conviction buy" list and raised its
target price to 750 yen from 650 yen, citing strength in its
e-commerce business and the company's recent results showing
steady growth.
    Social networking services provider Mixi Inc soared
19 percent to a 2-1/2-week high after it raised its annual
outlook to an operating profit of 200 million yen from a loss of
1.6 billion yen due to strong smartphone gaming traffic.
    But Kirin Holdings Co tumbled 8 percent to a
one-year low after the brewer forecast 140 billion yen in
operating profit for 2014, below the market consensus of 152.1
billion yen.
    The Nikkei was up 0.6 percent at 14,626.94 in
midmorning trade. On Thursday it had closed down 1.8 percent,
its biggest daily percentage drop in a week.
    Traders said that the Nikkei February options settlement was
seen priced at 14,536.09 on Friday morning, which will likely
serve as a support level for the benchmark in the near term. The
official settlement price will be released after the market
close.
    U.S. retail sales fell unexpectedly in January and more
Americans filed for jobless benefits last week, the latest signs
the economy started the year on softer footing as unseasonably
cold weather took its toll. 
    Market participants said that although short-term investors
might to react to poor U.S. economic data such as the latest
retail and jobs figures, most long-term foreign investors have
stayed optimistic about the global economic recovery.
    "The general view is that things continue to slowly
improve," said a senior trader at a U.S. brokerage. "If you
continue to see improving economic cycles placed by the UK,
placed by the U.S. and Japan, you'd probably want to be long
than not."
    A scheduled U.S. Senate hearing with Federal Reserve Chair
Janet Yellen on Thursday was postponed due to snow, but her
stance to hold off from making any changes to the Fed's
stimulus-cutting schedule has kept sentiment positive, the
trader said.
    On Friday, foreign investors placed net buy orders for
Japanese stocks for a seventh day.
    Exporters were generally higher even after the dollar edged
lower to 102.18 yen from Thursday's high of 102.58.
    Toyota Motor Corp gained 0.6 percent, Honda Motor
Co added 1.6 percent and Sony Corp rose 0.7
percent.
    The broader Topix added 0.4 percent to 1,204.73.
    The JPX-Nikkei Index 400, an index launched this
year comprised of firms with high return on equity and strong
corporate governance, rose 0.5 percent to 10,897.85.
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