Japan Stocks Testing 15 Year Highs

Japanese shares were probing 15-year peaks Wednesday as investors favored Asian assets on expectations of more stimulus from countries such as China and Japan, as well as a delayed start to any tightening by the U.S. Federal Reserve.  The chase for yield in emerging markets overshadowed a flat finish for Wall Street, where a swing higher in the dollar was viewed as a threat to multinational corporations’ profits. Oil prices also suffered a setback on data showing a jump in crude stockpiles.

The Nikkei sprang 0.6 percent higher in early trade to 19,763, so challenging the recent triple cart top around 19,778. A break there would take it to ground last trod in April 2000 and would be very bullish technically.  Indeed, milestones littered the region with Chinese shares at seven-year peaks and MSCI’s broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan at its highest since September.

South Korea’s main index had also made a seven-month top, while the Philippines market has been on a tear over the last couple of weeks to reach record highs.  The Bank of Japan marks an anniversary of its own as it meets two years to the month since it launched a massive debt-buying campaign that has built its balance sheet by a cool 156 trillion yen ($1.3 trillion).