Nikkei hits 2-month high on hopes of easing after election

Mon Nov 19, 2012 6:46am GMT

* Nikkei, Topix both rise 1.4 pct in heavy trade
    * Profit-taking may be possible this week - trader
    * Exporters gain as yen hits nearly 7-month low vs dollar
    * Japan Tobacco jumps to 3-month high as govt delays sales

    By Ayai Tomisawa
    TOKYO, Nov 19 (Reuters) - The Nikkei average climbed for a
fourth day to a two-month high on Monday on growing expectations
that Japan's main opposition party will win next month's
election and step up pressure on the central bank to ease
monetary policy.
    A call by Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) leader Shinzo Abe
for the Bank of Japan to further stimulate the ailing economy by
pushing interest rates to zero or below zero has weakened the
yen and boosted the shares of Japanese exporters.
    Bellwethers such as Toyota Motor Corp, Nissan Motor
Co and Canon Inc, which had lost ground
because of worries over a looming U.S. fiscal crisis and the
euro zone's debt problems, surged between 1.4 percent and 4.5
percent.
    The Japanese currency fell to a near seven-month low against
the dollar at 81.59 yen on Monday. A weaker yen allows exporters
to earn more when they repatriate overseas earnings, as well as
boosting their competitiveness.
    The Nikkei advanced 1.4 percent to 9,153.20,
comfortably breaking above its 200-day moving average at
9,074.29 and setting its sights on the next resistance level at
9,200.
    The broader Topix also gained 1.4 percent to 762.16
in heavy trade, with 2.0 billion shares changing hands. The
volume was 24 percent above the daily average for the past 90
trading days.
    Analysts said that Japanese stocks may stay strong through
the general election set on December 16, but profit-taking may
be possible as early as this week because of the pace of
appreciation.
    "Investors are covering their short positions at fast speed
now, but they will probably be asking themselves why only
Japanese stocks are rising while their overseas peers are weak.
They haven't forgotten problems coming from overseas such as the
U.S. fiscal cliff," said Hajime Nakajima, a wholesale trader at
Cosmo Securities. 
    "Until there is more clarity and reality in the political
climate after the December election, the market may not hold
gains."
    The benchmark has rallied 5.68 percent in the past four
sessions, taking its year-to-date gain to 8.25 percent, slightly
ahead of an 8.1 percent rise in the U.S. S&P 500 and a
7.5 percent advance in the pan-European STOXX Europe 600
 index.
    An opinion poll showed on Sunday that the LDP has maintained
its lead over the ruling party, strengthening its case to
reclaim control of the government in the December election after
a three-year absence. 
    "If the landscape of Japanese politics and monetary policy
could be altered by the election, it would be yen negative,
equity positive and JGB negative," Bank of America Merrill Lynch
said in a note.
    Among other gainers, Japan Tobacco Inc jumped 6.5
percent to a three-month high after the Ministry of Finance said
on Friday it would not sell shares in the company before the end
of December, removing a short-term overhang on the stock.
    Fanuc Corp gained 3.2 percent to a two-month high
after Deutsche Securities raised the factory automation robot
maker's rating to 'hold' from 'sell'.
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