Nikkei hits 8-week high after BOJ; chip shares up

* Chip-linked shares rise after U.S. peers gain on Intel hope

* Elpida climbs after media report of upbeat earnings

* Consumer finance firms in favour

* Nissan gains on Renault, Daimler tie-up speculation

By Aiko Hayashi

TOKYO, March 17 (BestGrowthStock) – The Nikkei average hit an
eight-week high on Wednesday after the Bank of Japan eased policy
in move seen by many as an attempt to prevent the yen from rising
and as chip shares rose on hopes of positive earnings guidance
from Intel (INTC.O: ).

Elpida Memory (6665.T: ) climbed on a media report of upbeat
earnings, while consumer finance firms were in favour with
Promise Co (8574.T: ) gaining on report it was set to secure funds
and Aplus (8589.OS: ) surging after Shinsei Bank (8303.T: ) said it
would raise its stake in the firm.

The central bank doubled the size of a lending operation it
put in place at an emergency meeting in December but did not
extend its duration. [ID:nTOE619091] [FRX/]

The yen slid to the day’s lows on the dollar and euro on
Wednesday as some took the view that the Bank of Japan move was
an easing of policy even if it was less aggressive than expected.

“The impact will be factored in today. The focus will now
shift to earnings, and as they have been steadily improving, I
expect to see little downside risk for the Nikkei for a while —
it’s unlikely to break below 10,500,” said Masaru Hamasaki,
senior strategist at Toyota Asset Management.

The Nikkei climbed 1.1 percent at 10,840.20 (.N225: ). It
earlier climbed as far as 10,848.75, its highest since Jan. 21.

The broader Topix (.TOPX: ) rose 0.9 percent to 946.50 (.TOPX: ).

The Nikkei earlier got additional support after the Federal
Reserve maintained its pledge to keep interest rates low for an
extended period, which lifted U.S. shares to a 17-month high.

Chip-related stocks rose broadly after Intel shares rose 4
percent on Tuesday on speculation that the world’s top chip maker
is expected to release positive guidance for the current quarter,
and the Philadelphia semiconductor index (.SOXX: ) gained 2.7
percent. [.N]

Chip equipment maker Tokyo Electron (8035.T: ) rose 1 percent
to 5,890 yen and Advantest (6857.T: ), which supplies chip testers
to chip makers such as Intel, gained 0.7 percent to 2,214 yen.

Elpida Memory, the No.1 Japanese maker of DRAM chips, climbed
1.7 percent to 1,777 yen. The Nikkei business daily said the
company is set to return to the black with an operating profit of
almost 20 billion yen ($222 million) for the year ending this
month, which would beat consensus forecasts of 16.5 billion yen.

Consumer lender Promise jumped 4.1 percent to 807 yen after
the Nikkei business daily reported the company will likely raise
about 50 billion yen via asset-backed securities.

Aplus (8589.OS: ) surged 6.5 percent to 99 yen after Shinsei
Bank said it would raise its stake in the firm to over 90 percent
as it looks to revamp the group’s consumer finance business.

Nissan Motor (7201.T: ) was up nearly 2 percent on speculation
that it and Renault may form an equity tie up with Daimler
(DAIGn.DE: ). [ID:nTFD006337]

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(Editing by Edwina Gibbs)

Nikkei hits 8-week high after BOJ; chip shares up