Nikkei Climbs to a 7-Year High, Yen Regains Its Stance Against the Dollar

Japanese stock market hit a 7 year high on record gains from export industries. The yen regained some ground against the dollar a little, trading as low 123.00 today. The bond yields contracted on weak manufacturing sentiment.

[B]Govt adopts '07 economic guideline / Improving economy focus of reforms[/B] - Japanese government adopted a first reform under the administration of Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, appointed in September. The reform is aimed at improving economic growth through increasing productivity, especially in nonmanufacturing industries, calls for maximum cuts in expenditures in the budget of fiscal 2008. [I]Source: Yomuri Shimbun[/I]
[B]ECONOMIC FORUM / Scandals taint private sector / Comsn, Nova wrongdoing shows government’s oversight role vital[/B] - Comsn Inc., provider of nursing care services, was notified by Japanese Health, Labor and Welfare Ministry that it could not open new brunches and could not renew licenses for the existing ones in April 2008. Likewise Nova Corp., a chain of English conversation schools, was prohibited from offering new contracts to students lasting longer than a year for the next six months. The companies were imposing strict quotes on sales and prioritized sales over quality of service. The regulations that companies face now are squeezing them out of business altogether and result from government?s push to grow the services industry. The message sent was quite powerful as both firms were the largest in their respective industries. [I]Source: The Yomuri Shimbun[/I]
[B]ELECTRONICS: Sanyo raises solar cell conversion rate[/B] - Sanyo Electric Co. stated that it developed crystalline silicon solar cells that have energy conversion rate of 22 percent, the highest amongst existing cells of its kind that have conversion rates of 15-17%. This improvement was crucial to Sanyo, as the new process means less silicon will be required for each cell. With rising demand for the product in Europe and elsewhere, Sanyo expects that its R&D costs for this project will be covered soon. [I]Source: Asahi Shimbun[/I].

[B]Mitsubishi Heavy to rent out robot[/B] - Mitsubishi Heavy Industries Ltd. had aspirations that its Wakamaru robot would be a first real commercial hit. A meter tall robot can manage schedules, send emergency alerts to cell phones, make simple conversation, and play paper-scissor-stone. While the initial plan did not quite work with only about a dozen orders coming in for a 1.57 million yen robot (~$12.8 thousand), Mitsubishi did not fall into despair. They changed their business plan to renting robots, running a “temp staff” agency in partnership with Daiwa Rakuda Industry Co. At 20,000 yen per day rent (~$168), the robot that does not complain about working conditions and does not need coffee breaks is supposed to be have a competitive edge over live secretaries and receptionists. [I]Source: Asahi Shimbun
[/I]The Asahi Shimbun
The yen saw a little recovery against the US dollar yesterday driven by the narrowing bond yield spreads differentials as the US yields continued their fall, trading at 5.086% The All Industry Activity index printed at 1.2%, surpassing the expectations by 02% and far better than the prior negative figure of -1.4%. Convenience Store Sales printed -0.7% at 3 AM EST today, showing no change since the prior period. As Tuesday?s extraordinary Cabinet Meeting laid out a plan of reforms to sustain economic growth and reverse deflation, we might see yen getting stronger in the near future.
Nikkei blasted higher today. Despite oil prices pushing higher, a barrel of crude now trading at $69.00, the index gained 48.1 points today, closing at 18211.7, climbing a 7-year high at almost 183000 at its day?s peak. The large drivers of the gain were exporters, the world?s largest automaker - Toyota, taking the lead and gaining 0.9%. Another winner was Nintendo, world?s biggest handheld game maker, which gained 2.2%, reaching a record high. Fanuc Ltd., another “worlds largest”, manufacturer of factory robots gained 1.9%. The move was caused by falling US yields and improving health of the US economy, which consumes most of Japanese exports. Recent yen declines made Japanese exporters believe that they will be achieving record profits this fiscal year.

Today the 10-yr yields declined a little as the Manufacturing Sentiment decreased; lowering the probability that BOJ will raise rates next month.