* Nikkei breaks resistance near 10,140, at 3-wk closing high
* Exporters, techs strong after Dow breaks above 10,000
* Elpida climbs after posting first profit in 8 quarters
* Banks pare gains made in wake of JPMorgan results
By Elaine Lies
TOKYO, Oct 15 Japan's Nikkei stock average rose
1.8 percent to a three-week closing high on Thursday, led by
exporters and tech shares after robust U.S. company results and
retail sales data boosted optimism about an economic recovery.
But the market came off earlier intraday highs in afternoon
trade as the impact of the much better-than-expected results from
JPMorgan Chase & Co (JPM.N) and of economic data, which boosted
the Dow above 10,000 for the first time in a year, wore thin
ahead of more U.S. bank results on Thursday and Friday.
Panasonic Corp (6752.T) rose 3 percent after Credit Suisse
hiked its rating on the firm to "outperform" from "neutral",
saying that it felt the share price was undershooting on concerns
of financing risks, with earnings solid and the stock looking
Despite paring gains that took the Nikkei .N225 up as much
as 2.1 percent by midday, the benchmark gained 178.44 points to
10,238.65 -- its highest close since Sept 25.
"There was some substantial selling of Nikkei futures around
10,300, and this has weighed on the cash market as well," said
Hiroaki Osakabe, a fund manager at Chibagin Asset Management.
"This morning's energy may also have simply been the Nikkei
playing catch-up to the gains made by other Asian markets
The broader Topix .TOPX rose 1.1 percent to 904.11.
Some in the market said investors remained less than
enthusiastic about Japanese shares, despite U.S. retail sales
data rising for the second month and offering cautious optimism
that spending would support the global economy.
"Given the gains in the Dow and the general mood of global
stock markets, it wouldn't be that surprising to see the Nikkei
rise as far as 11,000," said Koichi Ogawa, chief portfolio
manager at Daiwa SB Investments.
"But Japan still lags overseas markets, and we're not seeing
the same fund inflows that they are."
Investor optimism about U.S. earnings, already strong after
good results from Intel Corp (INTC.O) this week, was further
bolstered when JPMorgan's quarterly profit rose sharply.
The Dow Jones Industrial average .DJI rose above 10,000 for
the first time in a year, to 10,015.86 for a gain of 1.5 percent.
Other U.S. indexes all rose more than 1 percent.
But JPMorgan's $3.6 percent quarterly profit could prove a
tough act to follow for rivals, with only former investment bank
Goldman Sachs Group Inc (GS.N), which is set to report on
Thursday, expected to better JPMorgan. [ID:nN13183184].
Some Tokyo market players said investors were drawing back by
the afternoon to wait for upcoming results, which include
Citigroup Inc (C.N) on Thursday and Bank of America Corp (BAC.N)
on Friday. But others said the impact of the results was unlikely
to be significant unless numbers were much worse than forecast.
Japanese banks, one of the drivers of morning advances,
erased gains by the close as a flurry of short-covering prompted
by the JPMorgan news wore off.
Top lender Mitsubishi UFJ Financial Group (8306.T) ended
flat, while No. 2 bank Mizuho Financial Group (8411.T) lost 1.7
percent to 174 yen and No. 3 bank Sumitomo Mitsui Financial Group
(8316.T) fell 0.6 percent to 3,250 yen.
Some players noted that the prospect of a loan moratorium
proposed by Banking Minister Shizuka Kamei still hung over the
market and that without a real recovery in banking shares gains
by the Nikkei would be limited.
But exporters climbed, with Sony Corp (6758.T) up 3.6
percent to 2,600 yen, Honda Motor Co (7267.T) gaining 1.8 percent
to 2,810 yen and Toyota Motor Corp (7203.T) rising 1.4 percent to
Elpida Memory 6665.T rose 2.9 percent to 1,260 yen after
saying that it had posted an operating profit of 500 million yen
in the three months to the end of September against a loss of
24.5 billion yen a year earlier.
"This Elpida news may be taken as a sign that the whole
sector is likely to see earnings recovery, with autos also likely
to do pretty well," said Hideyuki Ishiguro, a supervisor at
Steelmakers gained after the Nikkei business daily reported
that China aims to curb lending to the steel and cement sectors
as well as four other sectors that have excess production
Nippon Steel Corp (5401.T), the world's second-biggest
steelmaker, rose 3.1 percent to 365 yen, while sixth-ranked JFE
Holdings Inc (5411.T) climbed 2.1 percent to 3,370 yen.
Trade was moderate, with 2 billion shares changing hands on
the Tokyo exchange's first section, slightly under last week's
Advancing shares outpaced declining ones by more than 2 to 1.
(Reporting by Elaine Lies; Editing by Joseph Radford)