February 25, 2014 11:55 am JST

Nikkei recovers to 15,000 level on gains in U.S., European stocks

TOKYO (Kyodo) -- Tokyo stocks advanced Tuesday morning, with the Nikkei regaining the 15,000 threshold on overnight rises in U.S. and European shares.

     The 225-issue Nikkei Stock Average rose 199.85 points, or 1.35 percent, from Monday to 15,037.53, topping 15,000 for the first time since Jan. 31. The broader Topix index of all First Section issues on the Tokyo Stock Exchange was up 11.79 points, or 0.97 percent, to 1,230.86.

     The market opened sharply higher as buoyant U.S. and European stocks encouraged investors to scoop up recently battered shares.

     The FTSE 100 index on the London Stock Exchange finished Monday at its highest level in 14 years and two months while the U.S. tech-laden Nasdaq Composite Index climbed to its highest level in 13 years and 10 months.

     "(Japanese) shares have been sluggish over the past month with the Nikkei below 15,000...but with U.S. and European stock indexes at historically high levels, Japanese shares shouldn't stay weak," said Takashi Hiroki, chief strategist at Monex Inc.

     The U.S. dollar's modest rise to the mid-102 yen range from the lower 102 yen level seen late Monday in Tokyo also supported the market, especially export-linked high-tech companies, brokers said.

     Softbank was the top contributor to the Nikkei's rise, gaining 275 yen, or 3.5 percent, to 8,049 yen in response to Bloomberg's report that the company is seeking to buy a stake in Line Corp., the mobile-messaging service controlled by South Korea's Naver Corp.

     Among export-oriented firms, Canon gained 44 yen, or 1.4 percent, to 3,180 yen and Panasonic went up 7 yen, or 0.6 percent, to 1,197 yen.

     Toyota Motor rose 58 yen, or 1.0 percent, to 5,982 yen and Honda Motor added 28 yen, or 0.8 percent, to 3,708 yen.

     In contrast, movie distributor Shochiku fell 12 yen, or 1.3 percent, to 904 yen after cutting its group net profit projection for the current fiscal year by 52 percent.

     Most sectors advanced, with major gainers including information and communication, oil and coal and glass shares.

     On the First Section, advancing issues outnumbered declining ones 1,352 to 309, while 119 finished the morning unchanged.