The big gains continue from across the Pacific. Japan's Nikkei (NIKKEIINDICES: ^NI225) stock index, which has outperformed virtually every other index around the globe in its run higher so far this year, rose another 2.3% this past week, hitting another 52-week high in the process. While Japan's simmering political feud with China took an unwelcome turn over the past few days, one of the country's leading financials stocks reported outstanding results to happy investors. Let's dive into the details you need to know.
CPI and China struggle, but stocks soar
Japanese lawmakers this week visited a Tokyo shrine to the country's citizens killed in war, a historically controversial move that could inflame tensions with China further even as the two nations attempt to defuse their ongoing spat. Chinese coast guard ships didn't help matters early in the week, as several vessels drew close to the waters surrounding the disputed Senkaku Islands, which both nations claim. Japan's move to purchase three of the Senkakus from a private owner last year sparked protests and riots in China, and the ongoing conflict has hurt numerous Japanese exporters to the world's second-largest economy, such as automakers.
Prime Minister Shinzo Abe's just as concerned about deflation as he is China, but his goals of 2% inflation also took a hard hit this week. Japan's Consumer Price Index fell another 0.5% year over year last month, falling more than analysts had projected and showing that Japan's era of deflation continues despite the country's recent stimulus measures. The data marked a fifth straight month of falling prices, although some economists predict the CPI to enter positive territory this summer.
Despite the bad news on the macroeconomic front this past week, several companies -- both Japanese and American -- benefited from good news across the Pacific. Aerospace giant Boeing (NYSE:BA) got a boost when Japan lifted the grounding of the 787 Dreamliner aircraft and All Nippon Airways, currently the largest operator of 787s, announced that it would begin test flights of the aircraft. Boeing already reported a strong earnings report this quarter, and Japan's confidence in the 787's safety profile in the wake of the aircraft's grounding saga is a step forward for Boeing's flagship jet.
Financial stocks have had a good week as well, as Nomura Holdings (NYSE:NMR) reported outstanding earnings. Nomura pulled in a net profit of more than 82 billion yen, more than tripling the result from the quarter a year ago, with the company's retail operations flourishing on the back of the Nikkei's rise. Revenue also jumped more than 30% at the company.
The sector's taken off recently, with Nomura and fellow financial firms such as Mizuho Financial Group (NYSE:MFG) surging behind stimulus and easy money. After the Bank of Japan declared its intentions to double its monetary base within two years, financial companies have benefited and stocks have jumped. Mizuho has seen investor demand skyrocket, and the firm's picked up its planned hiring in response. Mizuho's stock has jumped a whopping 15.7% so far this year.