Japan's Nikkei stock index gained 0. 75 percent Monday to a seven-year closing high as the yen's retreat against the U.S. dollar, coupled with positive data showing an uptick in capital spending among manufacturers lifted investor sentiment.
The Nikkei 225 index gained 130.25 points to close at 17,590.10, while the broader Topix index of all first-section issues added 0. 80 percent, or 11.31 points, to finish at 1,421.65.
Traders said that the market got a boost Monday and some of the fears about the economy falling into recession in the last quarter were allayed by data released Monday by the finance ministry showing that manufacturers here increased capital spending by 5.5 percent in the three months through September from a year earlier.
The reading came in ahead of median economists' forecasts for a 1.8 percent increase, with the better-than-expected figure being underpinned by additional figures from the ministry showing that corporate profits charted an increase of 7.6 percent, while sales climbed an encouraging 2.9 percent.
The data will be a boon for embattled Prime Minister Shinzo Abe who has been calling on businesses to invest more to spur growth and employment levels, as the nation is still dealing with deflationary pressure and the fallout of Abe hiking the sales tax here from 5 to 8 percent in April, which effectively pushed the nation into its fourth recession since 2008.
Takeshi Minami, a chief economist at Norinchukin Research, noted that while capital investment is moving in positive direction and at a far higher level than before Abe came into power, there are still signs of weakness. He added that Abenomics has lost some of the public's faith as they can't tangibly notice any difference as wages aren't rising as fast as prices.
Other analysts said that with the market overheating for a few days and investors duly opting to lock in gains, short-covering was seen on the first trading day of the week, with some investors buying back oversold positions, emboldened by the comparative weakness of the yen.
The U.S. dollar was changing hands at 118.84 yen, compared to 118.65 yen logged in New York on Friday afternoon, giving some issues like exporters a boost who rely on the weak yen to boost profits made overseas and their overall competitiveness.
Thus, Mazda gained 2.7 percent to 3,147 yen, while larger rival Toyota added 1.57 percent to close at 7,429 yen. Suzuki Motor also accelerated into positive territory Monday, jumping 2.8 percent to
finish the day at 3,853 yen.
Canon Inc. added 2.8 percent to 3,906 yen and Olympus rose 2.8 percent to 4,440 yen. Consumer electronics bellwether Sony, meanwhile, closed up 1.53 percent at 2,640 yen.
While air transportation issues gained ground on falling oil prices, with Japan Airlines climbing 4.2 percent to a record-high at 3,635 yen and ANA Holdings Inc. soaring 4 percent to 303 yen, oil-related issues took a pummeling.
Oil and gas exploration firm Japan Drilling Co. sank 1.8 percent to 3,830 yen and oil firm Inpex sank 3.1 percent to close at 1,219 yen.
But Pola Orbis, a cosmetics company whose mainstay products are daily use skin care items, surged 6.6 percent to 4,495 yen, after the firm announced its full-year net income forecast had increased by 10 percent to 9.7 billion yen (around 82 million U.S. dollars).
Trading volume on Monday dropped to 2.02 billion shares on the Tokyo Exchange's First Section, down from Friday's volume of 2.32 billion shares, with advancing issues outnumbering declining ones by 1,174 to 522.