* Toyota hits 4-year high after hiking forecast * Shippers, steel and real estate strong By Sophie Knight TOKYO, Feb 6 Japan's Nikkei average jumped 2.8 percent to a fresh 33-month high early on Wednesday after a sharp fall in the yen on bets a decision by the central bank governor to step down early will bring forward aggressive monetary easing. Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has put the central bank under relentless pressure to do more to drag Japan out of deflation and made it clear he wants someone in the job who will be bolder than the outgoing BOJ chief in loosening monetary policy. Currency-sensitive shares jumped. Toyota Motor Corp climbed 4.6 percent to its highest level since September 2008, also supported by a hike in its full-year operating profit guidance by 10 percent on a weaker yen and a firmer U.S. sales forecast. The Japanese currency plumbed a fresh 33-month low of 93.80 yen to the dollar on Wednesday morning. "The market's consensus is that it wants a BOJ governor who shares the government's push to reflate the economy with aggressive easing, and the news raised expectations for an appointment of such governor," said Hiroichi Nishi, assistant general manager at SMBC Nikko Securities. The Nikkei climbed 2.8 percent to 11,357.24, its highest since April 15, 2010. If it tops 11,408.17, an increasingly likely prospect according to market players, it will reach a level not seen since October 2008, after the global financial crisis kicked it off that year's high of 15,156.66. While all sectors moved higher, the stand-outs were those set to benefit from a softer yen, with automakers Mazda Motor Corp and Nissan Motor Co Ltd bounding up 4.8 and 4.6 percent, respectively. Although Japan's earning season has been relatively weak, with 63 percent of the 99 Nikkei companies that have reported so far missing analysts' estimates, according to Thomson Reuters Starmine, investors are hoping that a more favourable exchange rate for overseas revenues will boost future profits. Shippers, highly sensitive to the general strength of the economy, sailed up 5 percent, while the iron and steel sector, weakened over the past year by fallings steel prices, jumped 4 percent. The real estate sub-index advanced 3.2 percent. Bank of Japan Governor Masaaki Shirakawa said on Tuesday he would step down together with his two deputies, three weeks before the end of his five-year term. "This is proof that the market is still running on speculation rather than the facts at hand... the Abe effect is creating something close to a bubble," said Norihiro Fujito, senior investment strategist at Mitsubishi UFJ Morgan Stanley. "And yet I think the market could yet rise when they announce the new governor's name, particularly if it makes an asset purchase budget of 50 trillion yen ($535 billion) from the BOJ more likely." Fujito singled out Kazumasa Iwata, a former deputy governor to the BOJ and a vocal supporter of a 50 trillion yen fund, as the most likely candidate. Better-than-expected euro zone data also supported bullish sentiment after political strife in Italy and Spain sent shivers through the market on Tuesday. Markit's euro zone composite PMI, seen as an indication of economic growth, climbed to a 10-month high for January and was slightly above the preliminary reading. The broader Topix jumped 2.6 percent to 963.64 by mid-morning.
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