Bloomberg News

Nikkei 225 Rises as Greek Prime Minister Cites Progress on Debt

January 31, 2012

Jan. 31 (Bloomberg) -- The Nikkei 225 Stock Average rose, snapping a three-day losing streak, after Greece’s prime minister said progress had been made in talks with bondholders, easing concern Europe will be able to handle its debt crisis.

Kyocera Corp., an electronics maker that gets almost 20 percent of its sales in Europe, climbed 2.2 percent. Nissan Motor Co., an auto manufacturer that earns about a third of its revenue from North America, slid 1 percent after the dollar fell to a three-month low against the yen. Advantest Corp., the world’s biggest maker of memory-chip testers, gained the most in the Nikkei after Daiwa Securities Group Inc. raised its rating.

The Nikkei 225 rose 0.1 percent to 8,802.51 at the 3 p.m. close in Tokyo, ending the month up 4.1 percent. The gauge slipped as much as 1.3 percent earlier today amid signs Greece would fail to reach an accord with creditors. The broader Topix Index slid 0.2 percent to 755.27.

“Negotiations have been hard and that’s put investors on edge,” said Kenji Sekiguchi, general manager at Mitsubishi UFJ Asset Management Co., which oversees about $75 billion. “But those concerns will ease once there’s an agreement.”

Stocks rose after Greek Prime Minister Lucas Papademos told reporters in Brussels he was “strongly committed” to reaching a debt-swap agreement with bondholders by the end of week. Shares pared gains as the dollar weakened to as low as 76.18 yen, the lowest since Oct. 31, after the announcement.

Exporters Fall

“The yen continues to strengthen, which is a catalyst for blue-chip shares to get sold,” said Fumiyuki Nakanishi, a strategist at Tokyo-based SMBC Friend Securities Co.

Nissan slid 1 percent to 719 yen, and Honda Motor Co., a carmaker that gets more than 40 percent of its sales in North America, lost 0.6 percent to 2,666 yen.

Futures on the Standard & Poor’s 500 Index added 0.2 percent today. The gauge slid 0.3 percent yesterday in New York after a report showed U.S. consumer spending missed estimates, and European leaders sparred with Greece over a rescue package.

Advantest soared 7.1 percent to 875 yen after Daiwa raised the stock’s rating to “neutral” from “underperform.” The brokerage said the company may return to profit on rising demand from South Korea and Taiwan.

Among stocks that fell, Fujifilm Holdings Corp. declined the most in the Nikkei 225, falling 6.9 percent to 1,807 yen. The film maker slashed its full-year profit forecast by almost half, citing the stronger yen and floods in Thailand. The stock also fell after Executive Vice President Shigehiro Nakajima said the company may invest in scandal-hit Olympus Corp. as part of a proposed partnership. Olympus gained 2.1 percent to 1,285 yen.

-- With assistance from Masaaki Iwamoto in Tokyo. Editors: Jim Powell, Jason Clenfield.

To contact the reporters on this story: Norie Kuboyama in Tokyo at nkuboyama@bloomberg.net; Masaaki Iwamoto in Tokyo at miwamoto4@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Nick Gentle at ngentle2@bloomberg.net


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