Nikkei index breaks 19,000 for first time in 15 years

TOKYO: Tokyo’s Nikkei index on Friday ended above 19,000 points for the first time in 15 years as foreign investors pile into Japanese stocks, while factory robotics giant Fanuc surged after a pledge by its top executive to boost investor returns.
The benchmark Nikkei 225 at the Tokyo Stock Exchange advanced 1.39 percent, or 263.14 points, to 19,254.25, its best close since April 2000, while the Topix index of all first-section shares rose 0.89 percent, or 13.70 points, to 1,560.33. “As the market performs even though the yen is fairly stable, it’ll become harder for foreign investors to ignore Japanese stocks,” said Mikio Kumada, a strategist at LGT Capital Partners.
“They’ll continue to pile in, helping drive the market higher.
Fanuc led the charge Friday, soaring 13.20 percent to 26,870.0 yen ($ 221). The spike came as Japan’s leading Nikkei business daily published an interview in which the firm’s boss said he was eyeing ways to boost shareholder returns, and said the company, long known for its secrecy, would set up an investor relations department.
That comes fewer than two months after US hedge fund Third Point said it had invested in Fanuc and planned to push for change, noting the firm was sitting on $ 8.5 billion in cash and had no debt.
Fanuc said its attempts to improve transparency were not related to Third Point, which is run by American billionaire Daniel Loeb.

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