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Nikkei rises 1.2 pct, heading for best Feb since 1991
February 29, 2012 / 1:48 AM / in 6 years

Nikkei rises 1.2 pct, heading for best Feb since 1991

* Nikkei climbs 1.2 pct to above 9,800
    * Heads for its best February performance in two decades
    * Panasonic climbs after naming new president

    By Dominic Lau	
    TOKYO, Feb 29 (Reuters) - Japan's Nikkei share average
climbed above 9,800 on Wednesday for the first time since last
August on the back of Wall Street gains, extending a rally of
more than 10 percent this month and heading for its best
February performance in two decades.	
    Banks were among the top performers as the markets remained
in a so-called "risk-on" mode ahead of another mammoth European
Central Bank cash injection to fight the euro zone debt crisis.	
    Mitsuibishi UFJ Financial Group, Sumitomo Mitsui
Financial Group and Mizuho Financial Group 
were up between 1 and 2.2 percent.   	
    The Nikkei was up 1.2 percent at 9,835.09, a level
not seen since early August, while the broader Topix 
added 1 percent to 846.75.	
    "With the market behaving at the moment, we are still seeing
gaijin (foreign investor) flows coming into Japan," a trader at
a foreign brokerage said.	
    "That has been ongoing for the last four weeks. We think it
will continue because people underweigh Japan.	
    "We have a lot of Asian-based clients talking about buying
Japan. We must be close to hitting the top." 	
    The benchmark is up nearly 12 percent this month, on track
for its best February performance since 1991, shrugging off
negative news from Elpida Memory Inc's bankruptcy
filing this week. 	
    But technical indicators showed the Nikkei was ripe for a
pullback. The index was deep in "overbought" territory, with the
14-day relative strength index at 84, while the slow stochastic,
a short-term momentum indicator, also pointed to a retreat.	
    "From a technical view point, the market is overheated. We
may see a correction in the very short term," said Hisao
Matsuura, equity strategist at Nomura.	
    "Fundamentally, Japan is improving and investors will buy
Japanese equities ... which will push the market higher," he
said, adding that a weaker yen would also help.	
    Nomura has a Nikkei target of 10,250 for 2012, or upside of
4.2 percent from current level.	
    Overnight, the Dow Jones industrial average closed
above 13,000 for the first time since May 2008 and the S&P 500
 also hit a milestone, as buoyant U.S. consumer confidence
data and a sharp drop in oil prices nudged the nearly five-month
rally forward.  	
    Global equities have been buoyed by a run of strong U.S.
economic data, the ECB's nearly half a trillion euro liquidity
injection late last year and further easing steps by the Bank of
Japan and the Bank of England.  	
    Investors will focus on Wednesday on the size of the ECB's
longer-term refinancing operation gross allotment, as well as
net new liquidity. A Reuters poll showed 30 euro money market
traders expected the ECB to allot 500 billion euros ($670
    Shares of Elpida, Japan's last remaining PC memory
chipmaker, were untraded after the open with a glut of sell
orders. They were notionally quoted at 98 yen, down more than 61
percent from the previous session . 	
    Panasonic Corp, however, climbed 3.6
percent after the electronics company named the head of its
loss-making TV business as its new president and pledged to get
its TV division back on track within two years.

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