Thursday, January 24, 2008

Japan's Nikkei 225 Futures Rise on U.S. Economic Stimulus Plan

By Masaki Kondo and Patrick Rial

Jan. 25 (Bloomberg) -- Japan's Nikkei 225 Stock Average futures rose in Chicago after U.S. lawmakers agreed on a plan to pay tax rebates to families to boost consumer spending.

U.S.-traded receipts of Sony Corp., the world's second- biggest maker of consumer electronics, advanced 2 percent from the closing price in Tokyo on speculation the plan will support earnings for Japan's exporters. Toyota Motor Corp., the nation's largest automaker, climbed 1.9 percent after the yen weakened against the dollar, increasing the value of its U.S. sales.

The Bush administration and House lawmakers yesterday announced agreement on a stimulus package that will give families rebates of as much as $600 for individuals and includes incentives intended to spur business investment in equipment.

``Investors will continue buying back into the market,'' Mamoru Shimode, a chief equity strategist at Deutsche Securities said in an interview with Bloomberg Television. ``The focus is on how fast the U.S. will introduce additional policies to help the economy.''

Nikkei 225 Stock Average futures expiring in March last traded at 13,325 in Chicago, up from the close of 13,060 in Osaka and 13,050 in Singapore yesterday. The Bank of New York Co.'s Japan ADR Index, which tracks American depositary receipts of Japanese companies, rose 2.1 percent.

The yen weakened to as low as 107.24 against the dollar from 106.52 yesterday, boosting the local value of Japanese companies' export earnings.

Trading companies including Mitsubishi Corp. and Mitsui & Co. may advance after copper gained. Inpex Holdings Inc., the nation's largest oil explorer, may rise as crude oil climbed the most in three weeks.

The Nikkei added 2.1 percent to 13,092.78 yesterday, for a two-day, 4.1 percent gain, the biggest since Jun. 30, 2006. The broader Topix index jumped 2.8 percent, to 1,284.45.

Copper, Oil

Copper futures for March delivery rose 3.2 percent, the biggest advance since Jan. 8, to $3.1715 a pound on the Comex division of the New York Mercantile Exchange. Crude oil for March delivery added 2.8 percent to settle at $89.41 a barrel.

Nintendo Co., the world's biggest maker of handheld game players, may gain after raising its annual forecast for operating profit by 9.5 percent to 460 billion yen. The Kyoto-based company also lifted its sales target for the Wii game machine by 5.7 percent.

Profit will probably exceed the company's target by 20 billion to 30 billion yen, Shunsuke Tsuchiya, an analyst for UBS AG in Tokyo, wrote in a note to clients dated today. He maintained his ``buy'' rating on the stock.

Mizuho Financial Group Inc., Japan's third-largest bank market value, may rise after the Nikkei newspaper said the company and the State Bank of India will today announce an alliance to offer financial services to Japanese businesses investing in India. The Japanese-language newspaper didn't say where it obtained the information.

Nidec Corp., the world's biggest maker of motors for hard- disk drives, may jump after the Nikkei newspaper reported the company may say April-December operating profit climbed 16 percent to a record on increased sales.

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