Japan stocks log 2-wk closing high led by exporters

Japan stocks log 2-wk closing high led by exporters

By Aiko Hayashi / Reuters

Tokyo: Japanese stocks posted their highest close in two weeks on Thursday, 1 November, as a Federal Reserve interest rate cut, surprisingly brisk US economic growth data and a softer yen boosted exporters including Canon Inc.

Nippon Oil Corp and other energy-related issues also fuelled the market’s rise after oil leapt nearly 2% to top $96 for the first time on a sharp fall in US crude stocks.

Another notable stock was GCA Holdings Corp The mergers and acquisitions advisory firm rocketed 11.3% higher to 661,000 yen after it said it would buy US peer Savvian LLC in a stock swap deal worth $780 million, seeking a bigger slice of growing cross-border deals.

But investors heavily punished companies that had reported disappointing earnings such as NTT Data Corp.

Masaki Iso, chief investment officer at Yasuda Asset Management Co Ltd, said he initially thought markets might fall as the Fed rate cut was smaller than some participants had hoped.

“The scenario has changed, however. We saw economic data that indicated the U.S. economy is not immediately deteriorating," he said, referring to upbeat U.S. data showing Asia’s top export market grew at a surprisingly brisk 3.9 percent annual rate in the third quarter.

On Wednesday, the Fed lowered the key overnight federal funds rate by a quarter percentage point to 4.5%, as expected, following on from its 50-basis-point cut in September.

“But should the economy not be deteriorating, there’s a chance the Fed may stop pouring money into the stock market earlier than expected, and that would be negative for stocks," Iso said.

The benchmark Nikkei average rose 0.8% or 132.77 points to end at 16,870.40, the highest finish since 18 October.

The broader Topix index climbed 1% or 15.71 points to 1,635.78, its highest close since 15 October.

Trade was moderate, with 2.1 billion shares changing hands on the Tokyo exchange’s first section, compared with last month’s daily average of 1.9 billion.

Advancing stocks outnumbered declining ones by a ratio of nearly two to one.