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Nikkei at 2-month high as weak yen lifts exporters
February 12, 2015 / 2:36 AM / 3 years ago

Nikkei at 2-month high as weak yen lifts exporters

* Nikkei within striking distance from levels seen July 2007
    * Fanuc soars to record high on report Third Point buys
    * SoftBank underperforms on weak earnings

    By Ayai Tomisawa
    TOKYO, Feb 12 (Reuters) - Japan's Nikkei share average hit a
two-month high on Thursday  as the weak yen boosted exporters
such as Toyota Motor Corp and Sony Corp, while
investors cautiously awaited the outcome of Greek debt
    Fanuc Corp soared 3.7 percent to a record high
after the Nikkei business daily reported that Third Point bought
a stake in the industrial robot maker. 
    It contributed a hefty 25 points to the Nikkei benchmark, or
more than 8 percent of the Nikkei's point gains. 
    The Nikkei benchmark was up 1.8 percent at 17,973.18
by mid-morning after rising to as much as 17,983.96, the highest
level since Dec. 8.
    If the index breaches the Dec. 8 high of 18,030.83, it will
be the highest since July 2007.
    "The Nikkei could breach the December high instantaneously
if futures players chase the market higher on a weaker yen.
Whether the benchmark holds above the level is another
question," said Norihiro Fujito, senior investment strategist at
Mitsubishi UFJ Morgan Stanley Securities.
    "Japanese companies' fundamentals have not been impressive."
    According to Mizuho Securities, of the 932 companies that
reported Oct-Dec earnings, the average pre-tax profit forecast
for the year ending March was for a rise of 1 percent on the
year, compared to a previously forecast figure of 2.3 percent.
    As the peak of the Oct-Dec earnings season has passed,
investors want to see further guidance for the next fiscal year
through March 2016 to be released around May, Fujito said.
    Analysts also said that investors remained focused on the
outcome of the Greek debt talks.
    CNBC reported late on Wednesday that an agreement in
principle between Greece and other euro zone governments was in
place, but two official sources told Reuters that, while there
was no deal yet, a common statement was being drafted that could
leave it open for Greece to extend its current financing.
    Exporters were in demand, with Toyota rising 1.8 percent and
Sony gaining 3.8 percent after the dollar held firm at 120.22
yen and within striking distance of a five-week peak of 120.48
    Bucking the strength, SoftBank Corp dropped 0.6
percent after reporting a 16 percent drop in its operating
profit for the nine-month period through December.
    The broader Topix rose 1.6 percent to 1,449.83, with
31 of its 33 subsectors in positive territory.
    The JPX-Nikkei Index 400 added 1.5 percent to

 (Editing by Kim Coghill)

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