no comments

Tokyo’s benchmark index ends higher on bank rally

TOKYO (AFP) – Tokyo stocks rose for a second-straight session Monday, with banks extending gains while investors await details of a huge government stimulus programme.

Prime Minister Shinzo Abe is expected to unveil details Tuesday of a whopping 28 trillion yen ($273 billion) fiscal package aimed at kickstarting the faltering economy.

Tokyo offered few details about the plan — particularly the amount of fresh spending — when it was unveiled last week, before the Bank of Japan disappointed markets with minor tweaks to its own measures on Friday.

“The market wasn t satisfied by the BoJ s stimulus expansion,” Kiyoshi Ishigane, chief strategist at Mitsubishi UFJ Kokusai Asset Management, told Bloomberg News.

“But the focus is shifting to fiscal policy rather than monetary policy. The government is showing that they mean business.”

By the close, the Nikkei 225 advanced 0.40 percent, or 66.50 points, to 16,635.77, but the broader Topix index of all first-section shares edged down 0.07 percent, or 0.91 points, to 1,321.83.

Banking giant Sumitomo Mitsui Financial Group gained 3.80 percent to 3,434 yen, while rival Mitsubishi UFJ Financial Group jumped 4.32 percent to 544.6 yen.

Mitsubishi UFJ was set to release fiscal first quarter earnings Monday afternoon.

Japanese banks benefited from the BoJ s decision last week not to cut interest rates further into negative territory, which is bad for their lending margins.

Sony tacked on 1.73 percent to 3,339 yen after the consumer electronics titan booked a surprise profit in April-June, beating market expectations.

Mobile giant SoftBank soared 3.98 percent to 5,930 yen and Uniqlo-operator Fast Retailing rallied 3.70 percent to 34,670 yen.

But Panasonic plummeted 6.95 percent to 940.7 yen after reporting on Friday a plunge in first-quarter net profit owing to the strong yen, which dents the profitability of Japan s exporters.

On Monday, the greenback rose to 102.45 yen from 102.07 yen in New York, but was still down sharply from 103.58 yen in Tokyo earlier Friday.