Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Japan's Stock Futures Jump After Yen Weakens Against Dollar

By Masaki Kondo

Feb. 21 (Bloomberg) -- Japan's Nikkei 225 Stock Average futures rose in Chicago after the yen weakened against the dollar, boosting the value of exporters' U.S. sales.

U.S.-traded receipts of Advantest Corp., the world's largest maker of memory-chip testers, jumped 1.6 percent from the closing share price in Tokyo yesterday. Mitsubishi Corp. advanced 2.4 percent, while NEC Corp. added 1.2 percent.

The yen weakened against 13 of the 16 most-active currencies yesterday as U.S. consumer prices, excluding food and energy, gained 0.3 percent, the most since June 2006. U.S. stocks climbed after oil advanced to a record $101.32 a barrel in New York.

``The weaker yen will boost stock prices today,'' Mitsushige Akino, who oversees the equivalent of $555 million at Ichiyoshi Investment Management Co., said in an interview with Bloomberg Television. ``Confidence recovered after the New York stock market rallied.''

Nikkei 225 Stock Average futures expiring in March last traded at 13,490 in Chicago, up from the close of 13,300 in Osaka and 13,340 in Singapore yesterday. The Bank of New York Japan ADR Index, which tracks American depositary receipts of Japanese companies, slipped 1.8 percent.

The Nikkei retreated 447.54, or 3.3 percent, to 13,310.37 at the close in Tokyo yesterday. The broader Topix index dropped 42.57, or 3.2 percent, to 1,302.72. Both benchmarks fell the most since Feb. 6.

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