Sep 1 (Bloomberg)--
Japanese stocks fluctuated as shipping lines gained, while carmakers dropped as the yen traded near a 15-year high against the dollar.
Toyota Motor Corp., the world’s largest carmaker, fell 1.5 percent. Nippon Yusen K.K., Japan’s largest shipping line by sales, gained 1.2 percent after Morgan Stanley raised the share price estimates for the country’s biggest lines. Mitsui & Co., a trading house that counts commodities as its biggest source of profit, slid 0.4 percent after oil and metal prices declined.
"Japanese stocks have been sold too much, so their downside should be limited,” said Hiroichi Nishi, an equities manager in Tokyo at Nikko Cordial Securities Inc. “However, gains in shares will be curbed by concern over the stronger yen.”
The Nikkei 225 Stock Average rose 0.5 percent to 8,869.74 at midday trading break in Tokyo. The Topix fell 0.1 percent to 803.69, with almost twice as many shares declining as advancing.
Japan’s Topix yesterday fell to the lowest level since April 2009, amid concerns stimulus measures announced by the Bank of Japan and Prime Minister Naoto Kan will fail to halt an appreciation in the yen and boost economic growth. The estimated price-to-book ratio on shares on the index slid to 0.9 compared with 1.8 for the Standard & Poor’s 500 Index and 1.5 for the Stoxx Europe 600 Index.
Also, the 25-day Toraku index, a measure of daily stocks winners and losers in Tokyo, fell to 80.39 yesterday, the lowest level since Aug. 11.
Toyota fell 1.5 percent to 2,817 yen, the largest drag on the Topix. Fuji Heavy Industries Ltd., the maker of Subaru cars, sank 3.6 percent to 455 yen, set for the lowest close since Aug. 12. Carmakers were the second-biggest drag on the Topix among the gauge’s 33 industry groups.
The yen traded at 84.37 yen per dollar as of 11:12 a.m. in Tokyo, compared with 84.17 at the close of stock trading in Tokyo yesterday. It reached 83.60 yen per dollar on Aug. 24, the strongest level since June 1995.
Futures on the Standard & Poor’s 500 Index rose 0.7 percent today. In New York, the index yesterday gained less than 0.1 percent, reversing a 0.8 percent loss, as regulators approved a Chinese investment in Morgan Stanley and gains in home prices and consumer confidence tempered concern the economy is faltering.
Nippon Yusen K.K. advanced 1.2 percent to 328 yen; Mitsui O.S.K. Lines Ltd. climbed 0.8 percent to 532 yen and Kawasaki Kisen Kaisha Ltd. rose 0.3 percent to 314 yen after Morgan Stanley increased its stock price estimates for Japan’s top three shipping lines.
Mitsui & Co., a trading house that counts commodities as its biggest source of profit, dropped 0.4 percent to 1,089 yen, and Mitsubishi Corp., Japan’s biggest commodities trader, slid 0.1 percent to 1,798 yen.
Crude oil gained 0.4 today after a Chinese report showed manufacturing expanded at a faster pace in August. Copper climbed 1.5 percent.
The gains reversed declines in commodity prices yesterday as oil for October delivery tumbled 3.7 percent in New York. Copper futures for December delivery fell 1.7 percent on the Comex in New York, the biggest drop for the contract since Aug. 11. The London Metal Exchange Index of six metals including copper and zinc declined 0.6 percent yesterday.