* Exporters and contractors jump as Abe backs sub-zero rates
* TOPIX volume highest in two months
* Rallies may be short-term - trader
By Ayai Tomisawa
TOKYO, Nov 15 The Nikkei average closed at a
one-week peak on Thursday in high volume as Japan's main
opposition leader's comments to urge further easing and to
defend public works spending lifted exporters and contractors.
But Sony Corp tumbled 8.9 percent after the
consumer electronics maker said it would raise $1.9 billion
through a sale of convertible bonds, a third of which would be
used for investment in scandal-hit Olympus Corp. It was
the most traded stock on the main board by turnover.
Comments by Shinzo Abe, who is expected to win next month's
election, pushed the yen to a 6-1/2-month low against the dollar
at 80.83, a boost for Japanese exporters who gain when returning
overseas earnings to Japan and lifting their future
The Nikkei gained 1.9 percent to 8,829.72, hitting a
one-week high. It was the biggest percentage gain in a month.
The broader Topix index climbed 2.1 percent to 737.51.
"The stock market cheers Abe's comment indicating further
easing, and is inviting buying," said Chisato Haganuma, chief
strategist at Mitsubishi UFJ Securities.
"The stock market is not a fan of uncertainty, and by this
comment, investors finally get the feeling that there is more
clarity in this country's political climate."
Abe, a former prime minister and head of the Liberal
Democratic Party (LDP), said he wants the Bank of Japan to adopt
interest rates of zero or below zero to enhance lending and
reiterated that he would call on Japan's central bank to ease
monetary policy aggressively to end nagging deflation and weaken
Exporters as well as contractors led the gains as Abe also
defended public works spending, which was a hallmark of his
party's policies in more than half a century of nearly non-stop
Among the exporters rallying were Toyota Motor Corp
, Honda Motor Co, Canon Inc and TDK
Corp, up between 4.6 and 5.1 percent.
For contractors, Kajima Corp, Taisei Corp
and Obayashi Corp all rose more than 6 percent.
"People reacted to a trading cue coming from the domestic
market, and they had been missing that for a while," said Naoki
Fujiwara, a fund manager at Shinkin Asset Management. "But the
rallies may be short-lived as there are still worries about
economies in the U.S. and Europe."
Comments by U.S. President Barack Obama that he won't sign
off on more tax cuts for the wealthy, and unyielding remarks
from Republican leaders earlier this week, signal a long period
of negotiation and brinkmanship that could leave a cloud of
uncertainty over the economy.
Worries over the so called "fiscal cliff" in the United
States have been weighing on global equities, including Japanese
stocks, with the Nikkei falling for seven sessions in a row from
Nov. 5 to 13.
Trading volume on the Topix hit a two-month high, with 2.2
billion shares changing hands.