Concrete and comic shares soar on hope for Japan PM

TOKYO Tue Sep 2, 2008 3:11am EDT

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TOKYO (Reuters) - Shares in a Japanese comic book chain and a foam concrete firm soared on Tuesday on speculation that Taro Aso, a comic fan whose family owns the firm, could become Japan's next prime minister.

Aso Foam Crete Co Ltd is the only listed member of the Aso Group, which was founded by the politician's family. Shares in the small, Jasdaq-traded firm rose by their daily limit to close up 29.63 percent at 350 yen.

Aso, the ruling LDP's secretary-general, is seen as front-runner for the top post after Yasuo Fukuda abruptly quit on Monday.

"The connection to Aso is the reason our shares are up, as we've seen similar responses in the past when he was seen as a possible prime minister," said a company spokesman.

Aso Foam Crete was not the only company to benefit from prospects that Aso, who often speaks of his passion for "manga" comics, may become Japan's new leader.

Mandarake, a second-hand "manga" comic store chain, was overwhelmed with buy orders at 353,000 yen, up 16.5 percent from Monday's close, while trading card retailer Broccoli Co Ltd soared 20.7 percent to 70 yen.

Aso ran his family's concrete firm for about four years before entering parliament in 1979. His brother Yutaka now heads the group.

(Reporting by Elaine Lies; editing by Sophie Hardach)

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