Japanese Stocks Climb


Japanese stocks rose after Standard & Poor's reaffirmed its top credit rating on the largest bond insurers, alleviating concern downgrades would force banks to record losses on investments guaranteed by the insurers.

Mitsubishi UFJ Financial Group Inc., Japan's largest publicly traded bank by assets, climbed to the highest in three weeks. S&P reiterated its top AAA ratings for the world's two largest bond insurers, MBIA Inc. and Ambac Financial Group Inc.

Matsushita Electric Industrial Co. gained after the yen weakened against the dollar, boosting the value of overseas sales. Sharp Corp. advanced after the Nikkei newspaper said Sony Corp. will invest in its liquid-crystal panel plant currently being built.

The Nikkei 225 Stock Average advanced 98.86, or 0.7 percent, to 14,013.43 as of 9:23 a.m. in Tokyo, adding to yesterday's 3.1 percent advance. The broader Topix index climbed 10.95, or 0.8 percent, to 1,366.49 after gaining 2.6 percent yesterday.

Mitsubishi UFJ rose 28 yen, or 2.9 percent, to 1,003, set for the highest close since Feb. 5. Mizuho Financial Group Inc., Japan's second-largest publicly traded bank by assets, gained 3.1 percent to 466,000 yen.

MBIA and Ambac, which rely on their top credit scores to guarantee $1.2 trillion in bonds, led gains in U.S. stocks yesterday. MBIA is no longer under review for a downgrade by Standard & Poor's, the rating agency said.


TradingEconomics.com, Bloomberg
2/25/2008 5:43:08 PM