Toyota Motor Corp., the world’s largest carmaker, rose 0.9 percent.
Credit Saison Co., a consumer lender, and Ebara Corp., a pump maker, surged at least 8.7 percent after they boosted profit forecasts.
Mizuho Financial Group Inc., Japan’s No. 3 bank by market value and the biggest share holder of Credit Saison, rose 1.2 percent.
Ebara jumped 14 percent to 450 yen, the biggest gain in the Nikkei. The pump maker projected full-year net income will more than double to 11 billion yen. That’s 22 percent higher than its previous forecast.
Sega Sammy Holdings Inc., a maker of video-game and pachinko machines, advanced 3 percent to 1,796 yen, its highest close since July 2007. The company said net income for the April-December period more than doubled to 36.8 billion yen from 16.9 billion yen a year ago.
Yokogawa Electric leapt 7.6 percent to 720 yen after Nomura increased its share-price estimate on the stock to 770 yen from 680 yen. Yamaha Corp., a maker of musical instruments, gained 1.7 percent to 1,110 yen as Tachibana Securities increased its rating on the company to “strong outperform” from “outperform.” Kobe Steel Ltd., a steelmaker, advanced 0.9 percent to 224 yen after the company was boosted to “outperform” from “neutral” at Daiwa Securities Group Inc.
Banks were the biggest contributors to the Topix’s gain. Mizuho rose 1.2 percent to 164 yen. Mitsubishi UFJ Financial Group Inc., Japan’s largest publicly traded bank, rose 1.6 percent to 447 yen. Sumitomo Mitsui Financial Group Inc., the second-biggest bank, climbed 0.7 percent to 2,909 yen.
European stocks climbed to their highest level since September 2008 as investors speculated that the recovery in the global economy is strengthening.
SolarWorld AG rallied 6.7 percent as full-year earnings before interest and taxes climbed 26 percent.
Adidas AG gained 3.6 percent after the sporting-goods maker’s chief executive officer said the company will generate 1 billion euros ($1.36 billion) of sales in China this year.
Umeco Plc soared 4.9 percent as the maker of materials for McLaren racing cars said it has held talks about selling its Pattonair Ltd. unit.
Stocks rallied even after German factory orders fell more than predicted in December after jumping five times more than economists had forecast in the previous month. Orders, adjusted for seasonal swings and inflation, dropped 3.4 percent from November, when they surged 5.2 percent, the Economy Ministry in Berlin said today.
Julius Baer Group Ltd. climbed 1.3 percent to 44.11 Swiss francs after the 121 year-old Swiss wealth manager said it plans to buy back as much as 500 million francs ($522 million) of stock, or as much as 5 percent of its outstanding shares, by its annual shareholder meeting next year.
The company’s full-year net income fell to 353 million francs from 389 million francs a year earlier as clients reassessed the benefits of their cross-border accounts.
Xstrata Plc rallied 3.6 percent to 1,467.5 pence, leading a gauge of basic-resources stocks to the biggest gain among 19 industry groups in the Stoxx 600. Citigroup Inc. raised its price estimate on Xstrata shares 26 percent to 2,011 pence.
Copper rose to records in London and New York after figures signaled the U.S. economic recovery is continuing and as investors speculated that Chinese buying will resume after a weeklong holiday.
Randgold Resources Ltd. climbed 2.6 percent to 5,110 pence as the company proposed to increase its dividend by 18 percent. The producer of gold in West Africa also said 2010 profit rose 49 percent on higher prices and forecast a production gain of as much as 80 percent this year, even as the political crisis in Ivory Coast curbed output last quarter.
Net income rose to $103.5 million from $69.4 million a year earlier, the Jersey, Channel Islands-based company said today in a statement. Sales climbed 12 percent to $487.7 million.
Investors started the week in high spirits Monday, welcoming several major mergers as signs that Big Business is more bullish about the economy.
The biggest deals of the day include AOL's (AOL) acquisition of news blog The Huffington Post for $315 million, and a merger between oil drillers Ensco (ESV) and Pride International (PDE).
The diversified manufacturing company Danaher (DHR, Fortune 500) will also buy medical device maker Beckman Coulter (BEC) for $6.8 billion.
Meanwhile, the AOL-Huffington Post deal boosted shares of other media companies. The New York Times (NYT) climbed 2.5% and Gannett (GCI, Fortune 500) shares rose 2.8%.
Economy: In a speech to more than 200 members of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce Monday, President Obama made the case for ramping up spending on education and infrastructure to promote economic growth. The speech is seen as another sign of the thawing relationship between the administration and business community.
A report by the Federal Reserve showed consumer credit rose more than expected in December, climbing by a seasonally adjusted $6.1 billion in December, after increasing by $2 billion the previous month.
Companies: In addition to some major deals, company earnings were also market movers.
Humana (HUM, Fortune 500) fell 3.1% after the health benefits provider reported fourth-quarter earnings that missed analysts' expectations. The company said it earned 63 cents per share, versus a forecast of 81 cents.
Hasbro (HAS) said its fourth-quarter earnings fell to 99 cents per share from $1.09 a year ago, but its shares rose 1.9%.
U.S.-listed shares of Nokia (NOK) were up 2.1% following reports that a management shake-up is brewing at the Finnish cellphone company.
Sysco (SYY, Fortune 500) said its second-quarter earnings fell 3.8% due to higher commodities prices, sending shares of the food company falling 6.1%.