Monday, February 18, 2008

Japan's Banks May Rise After Qatar Investment in Credit Suisse

By Masaki Kondo and Satoshi Kawano

Feb. 19 (Bloomberg) -- Japanese banks may gain in Tokyo trading after Qatar said it's buying shares in Credit Suisse Group. Commodities-related companies may advance after copper prices climbed to a four-month high.

Qatar is buying stock in Credit Suisse and plans to spend as much as $15 billion on European and U.S. bank shares over the next year, the Gulf state's prime minister said on Feb. 17. Copper for delivery in three months jumped 3.2 percent to $7,974 in London, the highest close since Oct. 16.

Nikkei 225 Stock Average futures expiring in March rose 0.2 percent in Osaka yesterday and rose 1.4 percent in Singapore today.

``I expect banks and insurance companies to gain following positive news in Europe for financial institutions,'' Jyusaku Matsuo, a Tokyo-based analyst at Mito Securities Co., said by phone.

The Nikkei rose 0.1 percent to 13,635.40 yesterday, while the broader Topix index retreated 0.1 percent to 1,332.99. The U.S. market was closed yesterday for the Presidents' Day holiday.

Retailers such as Isetan Co. and Takashimaya Co. may be active as nationwide department-store sales results for January are scheduled for release at 2:30 p.m. today. Sales have dropped for four of the past six months, according to the Japan Department Store Association.

Oil-related stocks may be active after Nippon Oil Corp., Japan's largest refiner, signed a contract to buy Russian oil from Sakhalin island. Importing from Sakhalin may reduce shipping costs as the island is close to Japan, said Hirofumi Kawachi, an analyst at Mizuho Investors Securities Co.

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