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Nikkei logs sharp gains as Japan escapes criticism from G-20

JIJI

Stocks rebounded sharply Monday as the yen fell after the Group of 20 economies failed to single out Japan for criticism over its economic policies, which have led to the yen’s recent weakness.

The Nikkei 225 average closed up 234.04 points, or 2.09 percent, at 11,407.87. On Friday, the key market gauge fell 133.45 points.

The Topix rose 20.28 points, or 2.15 percent, to end at 962.69 after dropping 12.47 points Friday.

The market opened higher, buoyed by buying of a wide range of stocks.

Export-oriented issues drew buying on expectations that the weaker yen will boost earnings, while mainstay domestic-oriented shares such as banking groups were also bought on hopes for the government’s economic policies, brokers said.

The Nikkei briefly jumped more than 2.4 percent, thanks to the yen’s further decline, before easing somewhat on apparent profit-taking.

In a joint statement issued after their two-day meeting in Moscow that ended Saturday, the G-20 finance ministers and central bank governors said, “We will refrain from competitive devaluation.” But they made no specific mention of Japan.

The yen briefly weakened past 94 to the dollar and 125 to the euro again in Tokyo trading Monday.

“After the market passed through the G-20 meeting safely, players now expect hopes for ‘Abenomics’ will be kept,” said Hiroichi Nishi, equity general manager at SMBC Nikko Securities Inc., referring to Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s economic policies.

“Such expectations helped weaken the yen, prompting buying of Japanese stocks by investors who sold them late last week,” he said.

Nishi said the TSE has turned its focus to a meeting between Japanese and U.S. leaders in Washington later this week and the choice of the successor to Bank of Japan Gov. Masaaki Shirakawa, who has said he will step down March 19.

Rising issues overwhelmed falling ones 1,542 to 121 on the first section, while 36 issues were unchanged. Volume fell sharply to 3.127 billion shares from 4.514 billion Friday.

All 33 sector subindexes of the first section advanced. Among them, the banking sector was the top gainer, with Sumitomo Mitsui, Mitsubishi UFJ and Mizuho soaring more than 4 percent.

Brokerages Nomura and Daiwa and real estate developers Mitsui Fudosan and Mitsubishi Estate posted hefty gains, as did paper makers Hokuetsu Kishu Paper and Oji Holdings.

Automakers Toyota, Honda and Nissan, and tire makers Bridgestone and Yokohama Rubber, were upbeat, as was clothing retailer Fast Retailing.

By contrast, steel maker JFE Holdings and engineering firms JGC and Chiyoda lost ground. Tohoku Electric fell 1.52 percent after an investigation group of the Nuclear Regulation Authority pointed out it is highly possible that a crush zone beneath its Higashidori nuclear plant is an active fault.

JGBs recover early loss

Japanese government bonds regained strength in late Tokyo trading Monday after moving in negative territory amid the yen’s weakening and a stock market rally.

The lead March futures contract on 10-year JGBs closed up 0.04 point from Friday at 144.27. Volume fell to 26,981 contracts from Friday’s 34,199.