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Nikkei rises to new 8-mth high as weak yen powers exporters; Sony dives
September 18, 2014 / 2:07 AM / 3 years ago

Nikkei rises to new 8-mth high as weak yen powers exporters; Sony dives

* U.S. recovery offsets weak confidence in Japan - analysts
    * Sony tumbles to 1-month low on loss estimate

    By Ayai Tomisawa
    TOKYO, Sept 18 (Reuters) - Japan's Nikkei share average
soared to a new eight-month high on Thursday morning, with yen
weakness giving exporters a boost amid further confirmation of a
stronger U.S. economy.  
    The U.S. Federal Reserve on Wednesday renewed its pledge to
keep interest rates near zero for a "considerable time" but
indicated that it could raise borrowing costs faster than
expected when it starts moving. It also confirmed its
bond-buying programme will end next month. 
    The dollar raced to a fresh six-year high of 108.69,
lifting such exporters as Toyota Motor Corp and Honda
Motor Co.
    The Nikkei share average rose 1.1 percent to
16,063.19 in mid-morning trade after climbing as high as
16,067.41, its highest since early January.
    "For the Japanese market, a rise in U.S. interest rates is
positive, and the weak yen is serving as a tailwind to major
exporters," said Hiromichi Tamura, chief strategist at Nomura
Securities, adding that the weak yen should be positive to
Japanese manufacturers as far as 125 yen to the dollar.
    According to Nomura Securities, companies listed on the
Topix are expected to post a total of 61.5 trillion yen ($580
billion) in operating profits for the year through March, and
when the yen weakens by 1 yen against the dollar, it would lift
the aggregate operating profits by 300 billion yen.
    However, a Reuters poll showed on Thursday morning that
confidence at Japanese manufacturers fell the most in nearly two
years in September as a tax increase hit the economy harder than
    Analysts said that investors carefully continue to monitor
Japanese economic data such as consumption, but for now, the
impact from the weak yen offsets weak demand in such products as
autos in the domestic market.
    "The FOMC outcome shows that the U.S. economy is recovering.
We can expect that demand for Japanese products overseas will
offset weak demand in Japan for now," said Nobuhiko Kuramochi,
strategist at Mizuho Securities.
    Toyota soared 1.6 percent, Honda surged 2.0 percent and
Advantest Corp jumped 2.5 percent.
    Bucking the strength, Sony Corp tumbled 13 percent
to a one-month low of 1,844 yen after it deepened its loss
estimate and said it would not pay a dividend this fiscal year
for the first time since it listed in 1958. 
    "The stock price falling below 2,000 yen is overdone," said
Mitsushige Akino, chief fund manager at Ichiyoshi Asset
Management. "If the company were to go through further
restructuring, it needs cash, so from this perspective, it makes
sense that the company is not paying dividends."
    He said that Sony was being bought recently on the company's
restructuring plan to reduce payrolls and news reports on the
company's plan to enter the automotive sensor market. The stock
price may struggle until more details are out at its
July-September earnings release.
    The broader Topix rose 1.1 percent to 1,318.73, and
the JPX-Nikkei Index 400 gained 1.2 percent to

 (Editing by Jacqueline Wong)

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