Japanese shares up 1.5% by lunch

Japanese shares up 1.5% by lunch



Tokyo: Japanese share prices climbed 1.5% in morning trade Thursday, 6 December, after US stocks surged overnight on upbeat economic news and hopes of a major mortgage rescue plan from the White House, dealers said.

Reports said the US government was expected to unveil new measures Thursday, which could offer relief to hundreds of thousands of Americans struggling to meet their mortgage payments amid a prolonged national housing slump.

The Tokyo Stock Exchange’s benchmark Nikkei-225 index gained 234.04 points to 15,842.92 by the lunch break.

The broader Topix index of first-section shares rose 18.23 points or 1.19% to 1,544.86.

Gaining shares outnumbered decliners 947 to 634, with 130 issues unchanged.

Volume traded fell to 833 million shares from 877 million Wednesday morning.

But investors said gains could be short-lived as they waited to see the US government plan to be unveiled later Thursday, which is expected to call for a five-year freeze on resets of adjustable-rate mortgages to higher rates.

“It is doubtful whether US government measures tonight will clear up uncertainty over the US credit turmoil completely," said Yoshikiyo Shimamine, chief economist at Dai-Ichi Life Research Institute.

“There is no denying that some financial institutions may announce additional write-downs sometime soon," he said.

Overnight, Wall Street rebounded sharply after a survey found that more private-sector jobs were created than expected in November, raising expectations for a strong November jobs report from the government on Friday.

Despite the strong data, investors widely believe that the US Federal Reserve will cut interest rates next week.

In the financial sector, Mizuho Financial Group was up 24,000 yen or 3.9% at 638,000, Sumitomo Mitsui Financial Group rose 45,000 or 4.9% to 956,000 and Mitsubishi UFJ Financial Group gained 50 or 4.3% at 1,202.

Among exporters, Komatsu was up 30 yen or 1% at 3,130, Toyota Motor rose 80 or 1.3% to 6,220 and Nintendo climbed 700 or 1% to 67,700.