(In paragraph 3, corrects previous high to September from
* Nikkei rises 0.8 pct; Topix up 0.3 pct
* Fast Retailing up on strong Uniqlo Japan sales
By Tomo Uetake
TOKYO, March 5 Tokyo stocks surged to a new
4-1/2 year high on Tuesday as confirmation hearings for Bank of
Japan leadership nominees boosted expectations of further
monetary easing while index heavyweight Fast Retailing Co
jumped after reporting strong sales.
At the midday break, the Nikkei was up 0.8 percent
At one point, it rose as high as 11,779.42, its highest
level since September 2008, surpassing the previous 4-1/2 year
marked on Monday when Haruhiko Kuroda, the nominee for BOJ
governor, outlined a forceful policy to defeat deflation.
"(Kuroda) is the absolutely perfect guy in there and
probably the best one for the stock market," said Nicholas
Smith, Japan strategist at CLSA.
"This is absolutely not a yen story. This is about an asset
price reflation story, so don't concentrate your forces in
exporters, concentrate on ... banks, brokers and real estate,"
On Tuesday, the market was focused on the confirmation
hearing of Kikuo Iwata, nominee for one of the deputy BOJ
governor posts, who is known as an advocate of unconventional
Expectations of reflationary policies lifted the bank
subindex 0.9 percent.
Sumitomo Mitsui Financial Group gained 0.9 percent,
and Mizuho Financial Group added 1 percent. They were
the most and the third-most -traded stocks on the main board by
The sector has rallied more than 53 percent since
mid-November after Prime Minister Shinzo Abe called on the BOJ
to embark on bold monetary policy to whip deflation, outpacing a
35.5 percent rise in the benchmark Nikkei during the same
Fast Retailing climbed 5.8 percent after its Uniqlo
casual-clothing chain posted a 9.6 percent year-on-year increase
in same-store sales in Japan last month.
The broader Topix added 0.3 percent to 994.92 in
moderate trade, with 1.69 billion shares changing hands by the
Some market players are worried that the latest strength in
Tokyo shares may not be justified given an uncertain global
economic outlook as the U.S. economy faces automatic spending
cuts and Europe struggles with Italian political crisis.
"I think it's becoming a bit like an asset bubble. Retail
investors are looking to buy laggards everyday. Their moves
determine the direction of the stock market in the short term.
They don't care about fundamentals," said Yasuo Sakuma,
portfolio manager at Bayview Asset Management.
But Hisamitsu Pharmaceutical Co Inc sank 4.5
percent after a panel of advisers to the U.S. Food and Drug
Administration recommended that the agency reject a drug for hot
flashes associated with menopause made by Hisamitsu's subsidiary
Noven Pharmaceutical Inc.
Sony Corp shed 1.2 percent after saying on Monday
that it would sell all the shares it owns in Japanese online
game provider DeNA Co Ltd to Nomura Securities and post
a gain of 40.9 billion yen ($438 million)in the fourth quarter.
DeNA fell 3.4 percent.
($1 = 93.2700 Japanese yen)
(Additional reporting by Dominic Lau; Editing by Edwina Gibbs)