Monday, March 11 07:21:57
The Nikkei share average closed at a 4-1/2-year high today as investors bought financials and exporters after the yen weakened on signs of recovery in the U.S. economy, while hopes for monetary easing aided risk appetites.
The Nikkei closed up 0.5 percent to 12,349.05, a level not seen since just before the collapse of Lehman Brothers roiled global markets in September 2008.
The broader market's gains were underpinned by the yen slumping to more than 96 per dollar, its weakest since August 2009, after a strong U.S. jobs report on Friday.
"Expectations for the next fiscal year's earnings are positive, so investors are chasing the market higher," said Makoto Kikuchi, the chief executive of Myojo Asset Management.
He said that if listed companies in late April and May forecast increases averaging 60 percent for their operating profits in the year ending March 2014, then the Nikkei could top 13,000 by June.
Signs of a recovery in the U.S. labour market bolstered Japanese stocks, which are already riding a bullish streak on expectations of aggressive easing by the Bank of Japan under governor nominee Haruhiko Kuroda.
"This time, the yen weakened not because of Japan but because of the United States, or the recovery in the U.S. economy. It's not something that foreign countries can criticise Japan for," said Naoki Fujiwara, fund manager at Shinkin Asset Management.
The Topix surged 1.9 percent to 1,039.98. Volume was high, with 4.59 billion shares changing hands, compared to last week's average daily volume of 3.44 billion shares.
Financials led the sectoral gainers. The banking sub-index jumped 5.5 percent, while the securities and insurance sectors advanced 4.9 percent and 3.4 percent respectively. (C) Reuters