Tokyo: The Nikkei average gained 0.7% on Monday, 27 August, led by by exporters helped by a weaker yen, while Mitsubishi UFJ Financial Group Inc advanced after buying a A$208 million stake in Australia’s Challenger Financial Services Group
Mitsubishi Estate Co Ltd and other property stocks gained after UBS said in a report that shares of major real estate companies are at attractive levels after recent drops.
But trade was slow as investors remained wary about further fallout of the US subprime mortgage problems. Investors also held back ahead of US home sales data later on Monday.
“Foreigners are slow to return to the Japanese market,” said Hiroaki Kuramochi, managing director at Bear Stearns (Japan).
He said there are also political concerns as Prime Minister Shinzo Abe may be forced to dissolve Japan’s lower house of parliament and call snap elections.
“There remains a fear that the market may fall again,” Kuramochi said.
Traders were watching for news of cabinet reshuffle by Abe, but more for its long-term impact than anything else.
The Nikkei was up 114.05 points at 16,363.02 as of 0431 GMT. The broader TOPIX index also rose 0.56% to 1,594.69.
Auto shares gained ground after the dollar climbed as high as 116.76 yen pulling further away from a 14-month low of 111.60 yen just over a week ago.
Honda Motor Co. rose 2.7% to 3,800 yen while Toyota Motor Corp added 1.2% to 6,740 yen.
In the banking sector, Mitsubishi UFJ Financial Group Inc rose 1.8% to 1.15 million yen after a morning announcement that it had bought a A$208 million stake in Australia’s Challenger Financial Services Group
Mitsubishi Estate, Japan’s second-largest property firm, rose 2% to 3,110 yen after a positive report by UBS.
NTT Urban Development also rose 2% to 200,000 yen.
KDDI Corp, Japan’s second-biggest phone company, rang up gains of 2.1% to 885,000 yen, up for the fourth straight session, after Macquarie upgraded it last week to “outperform’ from “neutral” and lifted its target price to 1 million yen from 870,000 yen, citing profit expectations.