Nikkei jumps on US data, yen, hopes of Europe steps

* Nikkei up 1.8 percent

* Hit 2 percent five-day intraday high at one point

* Toyota sharply underperforms

* U.S. economy data boosts sentiment -market player

* Eyes on U.S. payroll figures out on Friday

By Antoni Slodkowski

TOKYO, Dec 2 (BestGrowthStock) – Japan’s Nikkei average jumped almost
2 percent and at one point hit a fresh five-month high on
Thursday, encouraged by strong U.S. economic data, a softer yen
and hopes of steps in Europe to ease the sovereign debt crisis.

U.S. private-sector payrolls achieved their biggest gain in
three years, according to ADP data, while global manufacturing
picked up speed, boosted by China and Germany.

“Foreign funds came back today and are the driving force
behind this jump, as expectations for the U.S. economy to pick up
speed are high after yesterday’s data,” said Hiroaki Kuramochi,
chief equity marketing officer at Tokai Tokyo Securities.

A Goldman Sachs prediction that the Nikkei will gain about 20
percent in the next year also boosted sentiment.

“We view conditions as ripe for a repeat of Japan’s
outperformance in early 2010, including: a stronger US economy,
inflation concerns in emerging Asia, the yen’s reversal, a
continued earnings expansion, supportive valuations,” a report
from the brokerage said.

Speculation that the European Central Bank could step up its
purchases of government debt also supported sentiment, although
currency market analysts were sceptical. A U.S. official told
Reuters Washington would support boosting an EU rescue facility
via IMF funds, lifting U.S. stocks (Read more about the stock market today. ) on Wednesday.

Blue chips exporters led the Nikkei’s advance with
construction machinery maker Komatsu Ltd (6301.T: ) jumping 4.6
percent but Toyota Motor Corp (7203.T: ) fared badly, one of the
weakest Nikkei 225 component in percentage terms, after a dismal
U.S. sales performance in November.

“If the rally continues like this the Nikkei could finish
this year around 10,500,” said Kuramochi, adding that immediate
resistance lies at its June 21 high of 10,251.90 and which may be
pierced later in the week.

The Nikkei (.N225: ) made its biggest daily gain in two weeks,
adding 1.8 percent or 180.47 points to 10,168.52. At one stage it
jumped 2 percent, hitting a fresh five-month intraday high of
10,187.59.

The broader Topix index (.TOPX: ) was 1.3 percent higher at
877.21.

Some 1.9 billion shares changed hands on the Tokyo exchange’s
first section, on par with last week’s closing average. Advancing
stocks outnuumbered declining ones by more than 5 to 1.

The yen fell across the board on Wednesday as the euro and
higher yielding currencies staged a sharp rebound and the dollar
also gained on the Japanese currency.

TOYOTA TROUBLES

The benchmark index rallied 8 percent in November, its best
monthly performance since March, with foreigners shifting funds
back to lagging Tokyo equities after U.S. monetary easing lifted
expectations of more liquidity in financial markets.

“Investors were underweight on Japan stocks for a long time.
They are shifting away from emerging markets to Japan now,” said
Mattia Ciancaleoni, director of equity sales at Citigroup.

Toyota’s shares, the most actively traded by turnover on the
main board, fell 0.6 percent to 3,290 yen.

In contrast to a 17 percent climb for U.S. industry-wide auto
sales, Toyota’s sales dropped 3 percent in November. It has also
told U.S. dealers it will pay for a secondary repair related to a
massive safety recall on its top-selling Camry for sticking
accelerator pedals. [ID:nN01141347] [ID:nN01216609]

Skymark Airlines Inc (9204.T: ), Japan’s third-largest carrier,
rallied 4 percent to 1,043 yen after saying it plans to hire
hundreds of new staff from those who have left restructuring
Japan Airlines.

The pace of growth in U.S. manufacturing tapered off slightly
in November, though the sector still posted its 16th consecutive
month of expansion, according to an industry report released on
Wednesday.

The U.S. government’s monthly employment report on Friday is
forecast to show another month of job gains in both the private
and public sectors. In a Reuters poll, nonfarm payrolls are seen
up 140,000 in November while private payrolls are seen up
153,000. [ID:nN30116474].
(Additional reporting by Ayai Tomisawa and Aiko Hayashi; Editing
by Edwina Gibbs)

Nikkei jumps on US data, yen, hopes of Europe steps