Nikkei hits 4-week high on Greece election relief, stimulus hopes

* Stable European markets post-Greek election boost sentiment * Investors look to positive earning results * Energy-related shares remain under pressure * Hoya jumps to 8-year high after rating upgrade By Hideyuki Sano TOKYO, Jan 27 (Reuters) – Japanese share prices rose to four-week highs on Tuesday, with some market players reporting a large pick-up in buy orders from foreign investors after Greece’s election outcome did not disrupt European financial markets.

Market players were also betting that stimulus from the European Central Bank will keep money sloshing around in financial markets, and that upcoming earning reports will show Japanese exporters benefitting from a weaker yen while importers reap a windfall from a sharp slide in oil prices.

The Nikkei rose 1.6 percent to 17,745.29, its highest level since late December, extending a recovery from a 2 1/2-month low of 16,592.57 hit on Jan. 16.

“We appear to be coming out of this period of extreme volatilities and worries stemming from European deflation and the policy response to that. There is some positive resilience in the market,” said Stefan Worrall, director of equity cash sales at Credit Suisse.

All but one of the Tokyo Stock Exchange’s 33 industry subindexes rose, led by precision machinery manufacturers and financials .

Hoya jumped 5.1 percent to an eight-year high after JPMorgan lifted its rating to ‘overweight’ from ‘neutral’, added the company to its list of most preferred stocks in Japan and raised its target price by 46 percent.

It said Hoya was likely to develop a monopolistic position in photomask blanks used in extreme ultraviolet semiconductor lithography.

Among financials, insurer Tokio Marine Holdings rose 2.5 percent while megabank Sumitomo Mitsui Financial Group gained 2.0 percent.

But investors continued to shun energy-related shares as oil prices flirted with 5 1/2-year lows.

Shares of Marubeni Corp fell 1.6 percent, adding to a near 5 percent slide a day earlier when the trading house halved its annual profit forecast due to plunging oil and commodity prices.

Rival Mitsui Co Ltd fell 1.5 percent.

Some analysts say the fallout from low oil prices could hit broader market sentiment given that the plight of oil producing countries could be worsening, with Russia’s debt rating downgraded to junk status.

“This is a market powered by the central bank stimulus but there are risks such as weak oil prices and the fallout that comes with that. So the market is likely to remain volatile,” said Norihiro Fujito, senior investment strategist at Mitsubishi UFJ Morgan Stanley Securities.

Both the broader Topix and the new JPX-Nikkei Index 400 gained 1.2 percent.

(Additional reporting by Tomo Uetake; Editing by Edwina Gibbs)

Nikkei Futures

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