Japan Stocks Touch 15 Year Highs

Japanese stocks swung between gains and losses after the Nikkei 225 Stock Average briefly traded above 20,000 for the first time in 15 years.

Fast Retailing Co. rallied 3.8 percent as the clothier headed for a record after boosting its profit forecast. Aeon Co. jumped 5.4 percent after the supermarket operator’s full-year net-income outlook beat estimates. Shippers led declines on the Topix index, with Kawasaki Kisen Kaisha Ltd. dropping 2.5 percent after JPMorgan & Chase Co. cut its rating on the shares to neutral from overweight. Kansai Electric Power Co. lost 2.1 percent after the Nikkei newspaper reported the company was losing contracts to cheaper utilities.

The Nikkei 225 fell 0.1 percent 19,920.86 at the trading break in Tokyo after briefly rising as high as 20,006, the strongest intraday level since April 2000. The Topix lost 0.3 percent to 1,589.20 after gaining as much as 0.2 percent, and headed for a weekly increase of 1.6 percent. The yen traded at 120.49 per dollar after yesterday weakening 0.4 percent as strong U.S. employment figures boosted the greenback.