Nikkei hits 6-mth high, Topix 4-mth high

Nikkei

Japan's Nikkei share average rose to a 6-month high on Thursday, while the broader Topix hit a 4-month high led by gains in carmakers and electronics on expectations that a sharply weaker yen will boost their earnings.

Exporters such as Toyota Motor Corp, Honda Motor Co and Canon Inc are among five most traded stocks by turnover on the board, rising between 2.0 percent and 2.5 percent.

The dollar rose as high as 82.55 yen, its strongest level since early April, on a pledge by the main opposition Liberal Democratic Party, tipped to take power in an election next month, to push for further central bank easing.

A softer yen allows exporters to earn more when they repatriate overseas earnings, and boosts their competitiveness.

"Investors are increasingly relieved that exporters' earnings will be better than expected if the yen's weakness continues," said Hiroichi Nishi, general manager at SMBC Nikko Securities.

Traders said that an increasing number of foreign investors are returning to the Japanese market due to expectations that an LDP-led government would push the Bank of Japan to take aggressive monetary stimulus.

"Foreigners have just started to pour in new, long money. Many of them are still underweight on Japanese stocks, but they fear that if they remain underweight, there is a risk of losing because they believe that Japanese stocks will outperform their

global peers," said Tetsuro Ii, the chief executive officer of Commons Asset Management.

"We've been getting questions from foreign investors asking how far the Bank of Japan will likely give in to Abe's demands."

The demands of Japan's opposition leader and probable next prime minister Shinzo Abe include "unlimited" easing until 2 or 3 percent inflation is achieved, pushing short-term interest rates below zero and having the BOJ buy bonds issued specifically to fund public works projects.

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