* Nikkei regains key 9,500 level
* Toyota, exporters helped by weaker yen
* Financials gain as Spain worries ease somewhat
By Dominic Lau
TOKYO, April 18 Japan's Nikkei share index
climbed 1.7 percent to regain the key 9,500 level on Wednesday
after robust U.S. corporate earnings, a well-received Spanish
debt sale and an upbeat German economic sentiment survey.
Comments by Bank of Japan Deputy Governor Kiyohiko Nishimura
that the central bank is ready to take additional steps to ease
monetary policy as necessary also brightened investors' mood
after this week's sell-off on concerns over Spain's ability to
finance its debt.
The Nikkei was up 157.68 points at 9,622.39 by the
midday break, after falling below the psychologically important
9,500 mark on Monday.
"You have a bounce in the U.S. markets. You have some sense
of policymakers in Europe who are keen to stabilise concerns
there. Data wasn't horrible in the U.S. ... Earnings were good
to mixed," said Stefan Worrall, director of equity cash sales at
Credit Suisse in Tokyo.
"You have a huge sell-off, so it's not surprising that it
has a bounce," he added.
Improved global risk appetite took the wind out of the yen,
further boosting the appeal of Japanese exporters, which are
strongly represented in the Nikkei benchmark.
Toyota Motor Corp and industrial robot maker Fanuc
Corp both climbed 2.6 percent, while TDK Corp
surged 3.6 percent.
The broader Topix index advanced 1.8 percent to
817.74. Trading volume on the main board was light, at 39
percent of its full daily average for the past 90 days.
"There are a lot of companies reporting this week in the
U.S. ... I think just ahead of numbers, people are a little bit
reluctant to put stuff to work," a senior dealer at a foreign
Financials were also in demand as concerns over Spain's
ability to finance its debt eased somewhat after the country
raised more funding than planned at its bill auction on Tuesday.
Sentiment also improved after German analyst and investor
confidence rose unexpectedly in April to a high not seen since
June 2010, while the U.S. company earnings season has had a
surprisingly strong start.
Nomura Holdings, Japan's top investment bank, rose
3.5 percent. Megabanks Mitsubishi UFJ Financial Group,
Sumitomo Mitsui Financial Group and Mizuho Financial
Group gained between 2.9 and 3.2 percent.
On Tuesday, Coca-Cola, Goldman Sachs, Johnson
& Johnson, International Business Machines Corp
and Intel reported profits that beat analysts'
The Nikkei has fallen 4.6 percent so far this month after
rallying more than 19 percent in January-March, its best
first-quarter performance in 24 years.
Global investors' appetite towards Japanese equities has
waned in April.
A monthly survey of asset managers by Bank of America
Merrill Lynch showed investor allocation in Japanese stocks fell
to 10 percent net underweight this month from 4 percent in
March, but still above February's net 23 percent underweight.