Reuters

TOKYO (Reuters) - Large Japanese manufacturers turned more optimistic about economic conditions in the October-December quarter, a government survey showed on Monday, in another upbeat sign for an economy on a record run of growth.

 

The business survey index (BSI) of sentiment at large manufacturers stood at plus 9.7, up from plus 9.4 in July-September, according to the joint survey by the Ministry of Finance and the Economic and Social Research Institute, an arm of the Cabinet Office.

 

The mood was brightened by a weaker yen and a 12 percent jump in the Nikkei <.225> stock average since the previous survey period, while sales and profits were up led by auto manufacturers and makers of electronic parts for smartphones.

 

The results come before the Bank of Japan's closely watched "tankan" survey of corporate sentiment, due on Friday, which is expected to show confidence among big manufacturers at its highest in more than a decade.

 

The buoyant mood coincides with a record economic expansion: gross domestic product climbed an annualized 2.5 percent in July-September for the seventh straight quarter of growth, the longest rising streak in data going back to 1994.

A big contributor to growth during the quarter was capital spending.

Monday's survey shows that big manufacturers plan to raise capital spending by 10.7 percent in the current half of the fiscal year ending in March, up from their previous projection of an 8.9 percent increase.

The BSI measures the percentage of firms that expect the business environment to improve from the previous quarter minus the percentage that expect it to decline.

(Reporting by Chris Gallagher; Editing by Eric Meijer)