Bloomberg News

Japanese Stocks Advance Most in Two Weeks as Commodities Rise

October 24, 2011

Oct. 24 (Bloomberg) -- Japanese stocks rose, with the benchmark Nikkei 225 Stock Average gaining the most in two weeks, as commodity producers climbed and machinery makers advanced after a report China’s manufacturing may expand.

Mitsubishi Corp., Japan’s biggest trading company by market value, rose 3.3 percent as oil and metal prices increased before of meeting of European leaders on the region’s debt crisis. Komatsu Ltd. a maker of construction equipment that has benefited from China’s building boom, jumped 4.2 percent. Tiremaker Bridgestone Corp. rose 4.1 percent after saying it’s planning a record investment to meet demand in emerging markets.

“Concerns about commodity prices are easing,” said Masatsugu Okeya, a fund manager at Chiba-Gin Asset Management Co. “The economy hasn’t been hit as hard as it did after the Lehman Shock, so investors are taking another look at commodities, which got beaten down amid all the concern over Europe.”

The Nikkei 225 rose 1.9 percent to 8,843.98 at the 3 p.m. close in Tokyo, its biggest advance since Oct. 11. The broader Topix index increased 1.5 percent to 755.44 ahead of a second European meeting this week on Oct. 26 to finalize plans for insulating the region’s banks from the debt crisis.

Futures on the Standard & Poor’s 500 Index rose 0.5 percent after climbing 1.9 percent on Oct. 21, extending its longest weekly rally since February. European leaders yesterday in Brussels said they made progress on a broad plan to recapitalize the region’s lenders.

‘Work Going Well’

“Work is going well on the banks,” French President Nicolas Sarkozy told reporters yesterday. “On the question of Greece, things are moving along. We’re not there yet.”

The Topix has tumbled 16 percent this year amid concern U.S. growth is slowing and Europe’s debt crisis will damage the financial system. The decline has cut the price of shares on the index to 0.89 times estimated book value, near the lowest since March 2009

Mitsubishi rose 3.3 percent today to 1,527 yen. Marubeni Corp., a trading company with businesses in iron and steel, gained 3.9 percent to 429 yen. Sumitomo Metal Mining Co. jumped 5.1 percent to 1,058 yen. Inpex Corp., Japan’s top energy explorer by market value, advanced 3 percent to 518,000 yen.

Crude oil futures rose 1.6 percent in New York on Oct. 21, while the London Metal Exchange Index of prices for six metals, including copper and aluminum gained 4.7 percent. Oil and copper futures extended gains today.

Chinese Manufacturing

Japanese stocks extended gains after a report showed China’s manufacturing may expand for the first time in four months. Komatsu jumped 4.2 percent to 1,778 yen. Fanuc Corp., a maker of industrial robots that gets about half its sales in Asia, rose 3 percent to 12,540 yen.

An index by HSBC Holdings Plc and Markit Economics tracking Chinese manufacturing rose to its highest level in five months and broke above a threshold indicating expansion.

Bridgestone jumped 4.1 percent to 1,764 yen after Chief Financial Officer Akihiro Eto said the company plans to spend 300 billion yen ($3.9 billion) next year to expand production. The company will build a factory in the U.S. and will increase manufacturing capacity in China, he said. Emerging markets are expected to make up 30 percent of Bridgestone’s fuel-efficient tire sales by 2016 from less than 20 percent now, Eto said.

Olympus Corp., a maker of endoscopes that’s embroiled in a scandal about $687 million in payments to advisers, plunged 11 percent to 1,099 yen, its lowest close since 1998. The U.S. Federal Bureau of Investigation is investigating payouts by Olympus to advisors on a 2008 acquisition, the New York Times reported, citing two people briefed on the case, without disclosing their names.

Tsuyoshi Kitada, an Olympus spokesman, said the company had no information on any FBI investigation. Shares have fallen by 56 percent in the seven trading days since the ouster of former president Michael C. Woodford on Oct. 14. Woodford has said he was fired for challenging the payouts.

--With assistance from Shani Raja in Sydney. Editors: Jason Clenfield, Jim Powell.

To contact the reporter on this story: Kana Nishizawa in Hong Kong at; Toshiro Hasegawa in Tokyo at

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Nick Gentle at

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