Nikkei hits 5-mth closing high, weak yen helps

* Nikkei ends up 0.9%, headed for best month in nearly a year

* Exporters rise as dollar hits two-mth high against the yen

* Rise capped by profit-taking, concern on euro zone, N.Korea

By Antoni Slodkowski

TOKYO, Nov 29 (BestGrowthStock) – Japan’s Nikkei average rose 0.9
percent on Monday to its highest close in five months as the yen
softened against the dollar, but the gains were capped by
profit-taking and concerns over the euro zone and North Korea.

The yen (JPY=: ) hit a fresh two-month low against the dollar
in early Asia trade, lifting shares of exporters such as Sony
Corp (6758.T: ) and helping the market to regain a positive tone
that has fuelled a rally of about 10 percent this month.

Market participants said an 85 billion euro ($112 billion)
bailout of Ireland had calmed markets for now, but in the long
run there were fears that contagion would strike fellow
strugglers Spain and Portugal.

“The dollar moving above 84 yen is the biggest supporting
factor today,” said Koichi Nosaka, a market analyst at Securities
Japan, Inc.

The benchmark Nikkei (.N225: ) added 86.43 points to 10,125.99,
its highest finish since June 21.

The broader Topix index (.TOPX: ) advanced 0.9 percent to
874.59.

But market players said Tokyo stocks will struggle to post
further quick gains.

“There are too many economic and political uncertainties for
the market to go much higher than this. We don’t know what North
Korea will do next,” said Mitsushige Akino, chief fund manager at
Ichiyoshi Investment Management.

Caution ahead of eagerly awaited U.S. employment figures due
on Friday was also preventing investors from taking more active
positions.

“Above 10,100, profit-taking tends to emerge, because the
Nikkei has risen so much over such a short period of time,” Akino
said.

EXPORTERS HELP

If the Nikkei can hold above 10,100 in the near term that
would boost the confidence of retail investors, and in turn
possibly set the stage for a climb as high as 10,700, he added.

Foreigners have been shifting funds back to lagging Tokyo
equities after U.S. monetary easing lifted expectations of more
liquidity in financial markets.

If the Nikkei ends November up more than 9.5 percent — it is
up 10.6 percent as of Monday’s close — it would score its
biggest monthly percentage gain since last December.

“It’s not just short-covering by foreign fund managers. About
20 to 30 percent of these fund flows are new and come mostly from
European pension funds,” said Hiroaki Kuramochi, chief equity
marketing officer at Tokai Tokyo Securities.

So far this year, Japanese shares have lost about 4 percent,
while Hong Kong’s benchmark Hang Seng Index (.HSI: ) has gained
nearly 5 percent and Wall Street’s Dow Jones index (.DJI: ) is up
6.4 percent.

Financial shares, most likely to be affected by debt woes in
the euro zone, were in line with the broader market, with banking
stocks up 0.9 percent.

Market players said strong sales on the biggest shopping day
in the United States, Black Friday, which follows Thanksgiving,
also bolstered Japanese stocks.

Shares of exporters gained as the yen weakened, wit Sony Corp
(6758.T: ) rising 2.8 percent to 2,970 yen and Kyocera Corp
(6971.T: ) up 1.9 percent at 8,600 yen. Honda Motor Co (7267.T: ) was
up 0.7 percent at 3,095 yen.

Toshiba Corp (6502.T: ) climbed 2.8 percent to 436 yen after
saying it planned to cooperate with a Mongolian consultancy to
explore rare earths, uranium and other minerals in resource-rich
Mongolia.

But Kagome Co (2811.T: ) fell 2.3 percent to 1,486 yen after
the maker of tomato juice and ketchup said the Bank of
Tokyo-Mitsubishi UFJ would sell up to 2.23 million shares, or 2.2
percent of outstanding shares, in the company through a secondary
offering.

Trading volume was light on the Tokyo exchange’s first
section, with 1.7 billion shares changing hands, down from
Friday’s 1.9 billion shares.
(Additional reporting by Aiko Hayashi; Editing by Edmund
Klamann)

Nikkei hits 5-mth closing high, weak yen helps