December 31, 2013 2:00 am JST

Toyota market cap jumped 8 trillion yen in 2013

TOKYO -- Toyota's market capitalization grew 60% in 2013, topping a list of the most valuable companies on the first section of the Tokyo Stock Exchange, in a year when the weaker yen and improving domestic demand led to sizable advances across the board.

     Japan's top carmaker took the No. 1 spot for the 12th year in a row, with a market cap that added 8.32 trillion yen ($78.2 billion) to reach 22.1 trillion yen as of Monday. Honda, in fourth place, gained nearly 40% to 7.84 trillion yen. Autoparts maker Denso increased more than 80% in value, rising six places to 11th.

     SoftBank shot up to second place from last year's 12th, with its market cap tripling to 11 trillion yen. Investors looked kindly on the telecommunications company's acquisition of U.S. mobile carrier Sprint and anticipate an initial public offering for Chinese e-commerce behemoth Alibaba Group, in which SoftBank owns a stake.

     Other telecom firms also ranked high, with NTT Docomo, NTT and KDDI taking sixth, eighth and ninth place.

     Many companies dependent on domestic demand rose through the ranks, including Seven & i Holdings, which climbed four notches to No. 19 by adding 1.54 trillion yen to reach 3.7 trillion yen.

     "They've undertaken such growth strategies as mergers and acquisitions," says Masayuki Kubota, senior fund manager at Daiwa SB Investments.

     Major banks saw their market caps rise on the back of improving market sentiment. Sumitomo Mitsui Financial Group climbed to fifth place from eighth, growing 3.25 trillion yen to reach 7.66 trillion yen. Mitsubishi UFJ Financial Group shares added a little over 3.3 trillion yen in value, although SoftBank's ascent knocked the group from second place to third.

     Of the top 30 companies by market cap, only 14th-ranked Canon saw the total value of its shares decline. Competition from smartphones hurt its digital camera business, contributing to a 13.3 billion yen dip in market cap and a seven-place retreat in the ranking.

     Well-performing major car companies such as Subaru maker Fuji Heavy Industries saw the value of shares that changed hands increase 400-600% on the year.

     "How investors evaluate them will turn on the way they use the cash gained from the earnings recovery," says Juichi Wako, a strategist at Nomura Securities.