Japan Stocks Cheers Weaker Yen, Cheaper Oil

MarketWatch Pulse

Japanese stocks racked up fresh gains in early Monday trading, as drops in the yen's value and the price of energy both propelled the Nikkei Stock Average to a 1% advance, extending a 1.2% rally in the index on Friday and putting the benchmark at another seven-year high. Likewise, the broader Topix improved by 1.1%. While energy shares slumped (Inpex Corp. down 1.4%, Showa Shell Sekiyu K.K. down 0.4%), transport and utility stocks rallied in the face of the seemingly inexorable funk on the crude-oil market. With Nymex oil futures hitting fresh multiyear lows, airline stocks sprang upward (Japan Airlines Co. up 5.3%, ANA Holdings Inc. up 5%) and shipping lines also saw some upside (Nippon Yusen K.K. up 2.1%, Mitsui O.S.K. Lines Ltd. up 0.5%). Power companies similarly cheered the cheaper oil prices, with Chubu Electric Power Co. up 3.6%, Kansai Electric Power Co. up 2.4%, and Hokkaido Electric Power Co. up 1.1%. Meanwhile, renewed weakness for the Japanese yen provided an updraft for the forex-sensitive exporters, as the dollar bought �118.85, after trading below the �118 mark in the previous Tokyo stock session. Among the winners, Sony Corp. added 1.9%, Canon Inc. improved by 2.2%, Renesas Electronics Corp. rose 2.8%, Toyota Motor Corp. captured a 1.3% gain, and Mazda Motor Corp. was up 2%.

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