* Nikkei jumps 2.3 pct on weaker yen, easing expectation
* Exporters and interest rate-sensitive stocks rally
* Yahoo Japan jumps on share buyback, earnings and div
* Canon, SMFG, Nintendo results in focus
By Tomo Uetake
TOKYO, Jan 30 Japan's Nikkei average ended above
11,000 points for the first time in 33 months on Wednesday, led
by gains in exporters and interest rate-sensitive sectors such
as real estate on persistent expectations of more monetary
easing by the Bank of Japan.
The Nikkei jumped 2.3 percent to 11,113.95, its
highest close since April 23, 2010.
Gains in Yahoo Japan Corp and Softbank Corp
on optimistic profit expectations also gave a boost to
Tokyo stocks, while earnings-related news dominated the market
as investors awaited trading cues from the corporate sector.
"The market is surprisingly bullish even though it's before
the FOMC meeting. The investors have already been buying stocks
quite aggressively," said Fumiyuki Nakanishi, general manager of
investment and research at SMBC Friend Securities.
"If Fed Chairman Bernanke makes positive comments on the
U.S. economy later today, the dollar could strengthen further
against yen to hit 92 yen. Then the Nikkei average would rise
further, heading towards 12,000."
Index heavyweight Softbank rose 3.6 percent after Dish
Network Corp decided against filing to block Sprint
Nextel Corp's proposed deal with the Japanese mobile
operator, at least for now, citing its ongoing negotiations with
Clearwire Corp and uncertainty over that company's
The Nikkei business daily also said Softbank likely
generated an operating profit of about 590 billion yen ($6.5
billion) for nine months ended December, up 10 percent on the
year. The company is to report earnings on Thursday.
Yahoo Japan surged 17.1 percent after it said it planned to
buy back up to 20 billion yen of its own shares, or 1.4 percent
of its issued stock.
REAL ESTATE SURGES
Real estate companies climbed 3.5 percent and
were the top sectoral performer on expectations the central bank
would step up its monetary policy easing.
The dollar was at 90.95 yen, near Monday's 31-month high of
around 91.25 yen. The yen has been mostly a one-way bet since
mid-November, based on expectations that Japanese Prime Minister
Shinzo Abe would push the Bank of Japan into more aggressive
monetary easing to beat deflation.
The Nikkei has risen 28 percent since mid-November, when
Abe, then a candidate for leader of the opposition and now prime
minister, began calling for aggressive monetary easing in his
The broader Topix gained 1.5 percent to 934.67, with
3.13 billion shares changing hands, down from 3.47 billion on
Tuesday and last week's daily average of 3.44 billion.
EARNINGS IN FOCUS
With quarterly earnings for the October-December period in
the spotlight, analysts said that investors were focused on
prospects for the fiscal year ending March 2014 as they start
scrutinising companies' financial details such as how far a
recently weak yen can push up bottom lines.
"Before, investors were like 'just buy bellwether Japan
stocks', but now they are being selective," said Hiromichi
Tamura, chief strategist at Nomura Securities.
"Many of them still want to add more Japanese shares to
their portfolios, and companies that are reporting strong
results and forecasts are in focus."
"Investors have shifted their focus to prospects for the
full-year (ending this March) as well as next year (through
March 2014)," said Hiroichi Nishi, an assistant general manager
of equity investment at SMBC Nikko Securities.
After the bell, Canon Inc said it expected a 26.6
percent rise in operating profit this year as it cuts costs and
gets a boost to revenues from a weakening yen, although the rise
fell short of analysts' expectations.
The stock was up 2.9 percent before the results
Komatsu Ltd reversed its earlier losses to end 2.2
percent higher as investors bet on strong fourth-quarter
performance even though the world's second-biggest maker of
construction machinery cut its earnings guidance for the
financial year to March.