Nikkei rises to 2-week high on upbeat U.S. data; Skymark shines

Mon Aug 18, 2014 9:34pm EDT

* Skymark soars on report that AirAsia is considering aid
    * Daikin jumps on Credit Suisse's rating hike

    By Ayai Tomisawa
    TOKYO, Aug 19 (Reuters) - Japan's Nikkei share average rose
to a two-week high on Tuesday  as strong U.S. housing data
buoyed sentiment, while the weaker yen lifted risk appetite in
such index-heavy stocks and exporters as SoftBank Corp 
and Panasonic Corp.
    Also helping the mood were receding tensions in Ukraine,
after Russia said on Monday all objections to it sending a
humanitarian convoy to Ukraine had been resolved.
 
    The Nikkei rose 0.8 percent to 15,443.38 points in
mid-morning trade, after rising as high as 15,476.05, the
highest since Aug. 5.
    Skymark Airlines Inc soared 28 percent after the
Nikkei business daily reported that Malaysia-based AirAsia is
considering options for aid to Skymark, seeking control of
Japan's third-largest domestic carrier, citing people familiar
with the matter.  
    "Confidence is back as we've got strong U.S. shares and
upbeat data from the U.S.," said Hikaru Sato, a senior technical
analyst at Daiwa Securities.
    He said that investors were also closely focused on this
week's annual meeting of top central bankers and economists in
Jackson Hole, Wyoming.
    On Monday, U.S. shares surged, with the Nasdaq closing at a
14-year high, after the NAHB/Wells Fargo Housing Market Index
showed that homebuilder sentiment rose for the third straight
month in August. 
    SoftBank soared 2.1 percent, Panasonic rose 0.8 percent, and
another index-heavy stock Fanuc Corp added 1.5 percent.
The dollar was at 102.61 yen, having maintained its slow
rebound from a low of 101.51 hit on Aug 8.
    Air conditioner maker Daikin Industries Ltd jumped
3.5 percent after Credit Suisse hiked its rating to "outperform"
from "neutral", citing likely strong growth in its
environmentally friendly products in emerging markets.
    The broader Topix gained 0.5 percent to 1,277.76,
and the JPX-Nikkei Index 400 advanced 0.5 percent to
11,626.94.

 (Editing by Kim Coghill)