Nikkei up 0.4 percent, boosted by traders and Dentsu

By Elaine Lies

TOKYO (BestGrowthStock) – Japan’s Nikkei average rose 0.4 percent on Monday after better-than-expected U.S. wholesale inventories underscored a recovery in the U.S. economy, while ad agency Dentsu (4324.T: ) surged on improved earnings guidance.

Trading houses such as Mitsui & Co (8031.T: ) did especially well after metals prices rose, but buying emerged across a broad range of sectors as confidence grew after the Dow (.DJI: ) briefly rose above 11,000 for the first time in 18 months.

News that euro zone finance ministers approved a giant 30 billion euro ($40 billion) emergency aid mechanism for debt-plagued Greece on Sunday was another supportive factor, analysts said.

“A lot of investors appear to be sidelined ahead of U.S. results, especially Intel on Tuesday and Chinese indicators due out later this week,” said Hiroaki Osakabe, a fund manager at Chibagin Asset Management.

“There’s still some worries about overheating in connection with specific shares, but there aren’t any market-wide selling factors and expectations for earnings in both the United States and Japan will keep the market supported.”

The benchmark Nikkei (.N225: ) rose 47.56 points to 11,251.90 after earlier rising over 1 percent to 11,351.55, while the broader Topix (.TOPX: ) gained 0.5 percent to 994.78.

While the trend in the Nikkei looks bullish on daily Ichimoku charts, other technical indicators suggest the market is overbought, with MACD getting close to flashing a sell signal. Its RSI (relative strength index) stands at 68, just under the overbought line above 70.

“Recent economic indicators are reassuring in general, and this in connection with the long-running nature of the uptrend means there’s unlikely to be much selling, although some small- and mid-cap shares are a bit overheated,” said Nagayuki Yamagishi, a strategist at Mitsubishi UFJ Securities.

U.S. wholesale inventories rose more than expected in February and sales at wholesalers reached their highest level in 16 months, brightening prospects for first-quarter economic and earnings growth.

PARING GAINS

Some market players also said that concerns the positive impact of the Greek rescue plan could dissipate and the yen might stop weakening were leading some investors to take profits in afternoon trade, paring the Nikkei’s gains.

Dentsu Inc, Japan’s biggest advertising agency, surged 4.2 percent to 2,708 yen after raising its operating profit estimate for the year ended in March to 33.9 billion yen ($364 million), up 31 percent from its previous forecast.

London copper futures hit a new 20-month high and aluminum climbed to an 18-month high on Monday, boosted by the dollar’s weakness against a basket of currencies on hopes the Greek bailout plan would cut the risk of a default. Other metals also gained.

Among trading houses, Mitsubishi Corp (8058.T: ) gained 1.6 percent to 2,480 yen, Mitsui & Co climbed 2.4 percent to 1,650 yen and Itochu Corp (8001.T: ) rose 4.4 percent to 884 yen.

But Kabu.com Securities (8703.T: ) slid 3.8 percent to 476 yen after Credit Suisse downgraded the shares to “neutral” from “outperform” and cut the target price to 460 yen from 575 yen, citing the strong likelihood of a near-term peak in trading activity by individual investors.

Credit Suisse also downgraded online broker Matsui Securities (8628.T: ) to “underperform” from “neutral” and cut the target price for the shares to 640 yen from 760 yen. Matsui Securities fell 1.5 percent to 721 yen.

Nearly 2.2 billion shares changed hands on the Tokyo exchange’s first section, in line with levels seen on Friday and down a bit from a one-month high of about 2.4 billion shares reached last Wednesday.

Advancing shares outnumbered declining ones by more than 2 to 1.

Investing Analysis

(Additional reporting by Masayuki Kitano; Editing by Joseph Radford)

Nikkei up 0.4 percent, boosted by traders and Dentsu