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Nikkei reaches 55-month high above 13,000 on yen’s dive

JIJI

Stocks soared again Monday, inspired by the yen’s plunge after bold Bank of Japan monetary easing, with the Nikkei 225 average ending above 13,000 for the first time since Aug. 29, 2008.

The Nikkei gained 358.95 points, or 2.80 percent, to finish at 13,192.59, its best since Aug. 12, 2008.

The Topix jumped 35.50 points, or 3.33 percent, to close at 1,101.74, its highest close since Sept. 29, 2008.

Both indexes extended their winning streak to a fourth session.

Despite falls in European and U.S. markets on Friday following weaker than expected U.S. jobs data for March, stocks here rose almost across the board in early trading after the yen fell past 98 to the dollar in Tokyo trading for the first time since June 2009.

Export-oriented issues drew buying on expectations of better earnings in fiscal 2013 thanks to the weaker yen, while interest rate-sensitive sectors, including real estate developers and nonbank lenders, also posted hefty gains, brokers said.

After rising more than 3 percent at one point, the Nikkei trimmed its gains after some issues were pressured somewhat by selling to lock in profits. Regardless, the key market yardstick stayed well above 13,000 throughout the session.

“Although buying from foreign investors had lost momentum before the BOJ meeting last week, they have stepped up buying again” since the announcement of the bank’s new easing measures, said Toshiyuki Kanayama, a market analyst in Monex Inc.’s financial intelligence department.

Hopes for Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s economic policies, known as “Abenomics,” have become stronger, brokers said.

The Nikkei has shot up 1,189.16 points, or 9.91 percent, during its current winning streak.

“It is true there is wariness over the recent rapid upswing, but any major correction is unlikely in the very short term” in light of foreigners’ revived interest in Japanese stocks, Kanayama said.

But given the recent volatile moves, the Nikkei could well post a three-digit daily point loss if the yen rebounds, he added.

Winners overwhelmed losers 1,530 to 125 in the first section, while 58 issues were unchanged.

Volume remained high at 4.955 billion shares, though down from the record high 6.449 billion on Friday.

All 33 sector subindexes of the TSE’s first section advanced.

Brokerage firms Nomura and Daiwa soared 10.13 percent and 7.30 percent. Nonbank lender Acom jumped 16.80 percent to score a daily-limit gain. Sumitomo Mitsui and Mitsubishi UFJ surged more than 5 percent.

Automakers Toyota and Honda and tire maker Bridgestone posted hefty gains, as did high-tech giant Sony and camera maker Canon.

Key 10-year yield rises

The key 10-year Japanese government bond yield topped 0.5 percent Monday after showing wild movements.

The yield on the latest 328th 10-year JGB issue with a 0.6 percent coupon stood at 0.525 percent in late interdealer trading, up from 0.460 percent late Friday.

The lead June contract on 10-year JGBs closed at 144.34, up 0.32 point from Friday. Volume fell to 38,663 contracts from 66,585 contracts.