Nikkei 225 Futures in Chicago Roar 655 Points

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Thought the Dow’s 3.5% rally and the Nasdaq and S&P 500’s 4.2% gains were big? Take a look at the 5.5% surge in N225 futures in Chicago. The last quote was at 12,460. A late $/¥ quote shows a recovery of the 100-level. A quick review of Investing in Japan’s listing of Japanese ADRs shows real estate and leasing firm ORIX [[IX]] led the charge and chip equipment and diagnostics-maker Advantest [[ATE]] put up the second-best daily performance — granted the two have severely depressed stock prices!

Mega banks Mitsubishi UFJ Financial Group [[MTU]] and Mizuho FG [[MFG]] rose handsomely, as did Nomura Holdings [[NMR]].

Sony [[SNE]] had a more modest day, while Nintendo (NTDOY.PK) +3.7% to $64.05, was not too shabby compared to gains by Matsushita [[MC]] and Kyocera [[KYO]].

Let’s see if the Nikkei 225 can pull off a 5.5% rally and how N225 futures will respond in Singapore and Osaka. What we witnessed in the U.S. was iShares MSCI Japan Index [[EWJ]] rose 2.9% by comparison. It goes without saying EWJ doesn’t track the N225. Repeat after me: EWJ doesn’t track the N225. Still, you may wonder why EWJ was only up 2.9%. Simple. Check out CurrencyShares Japanese Yen Trust [[FXY]]. Its 2.1% decline added back to EWJ would make for a 5% gain!

We asked over the weekend if a Nikkei 225 bottom is near. It sure seems we’re not far from some easing to the downside action, as the yen (a weak currency in itself) will likely slow its appreciation against the dollar and assuage concerns about exporters’ profitability. It’s fiscal-year end countdown time.

However, the outlook for the U.S. economy is still anyone’s guess, but at least for a day there was something for the media and traders to cheer about. It may turn out to have been an amplified result of short-covering or it could be the case that we’re setting up for a recovery as non-financial stocks are still mostly in good shape. Ultimately, it may be a matter of how resilient U.S. consumers are.