Nikkei rises 1.3 pct on weak yen, Fed hopes; Softbank soars

Tue Jun 18, 2013 10:50pm EDT

* Investors still cautious ahead of Fed outcome
    * Softbank soars after Dish abandons Sprint bid
    * Tepco tumbles as highly toxic substance found at plant

    By Ayai Tomisawa
    TOKYO, June 19 (Reuters) - Japan's Nikkei share average rose
to a one-week high on Wednesday morning, underpinned by optimism
that the U.S. Federal Reserve would temper worries about an
imminent roll back of its stimulus programme.
    The market also got a boost from Softbank Corp,
which soared after Dish Network Corp said it would
abandon a bid for Sprint Nextel.
    Exporters rose as the dollar stayed above 95 yen, with Honda
Motor Co adding 1.3 percent, Canon Inc 
advancing 1.7 percent and Toshiba Corp climbing 1.9
percent.
    Softbank, which is trying to buy U.S. wireless provider
Sprint, soared 3.8 percent and was the third most traded stock
by turnover after Dish Network said it would not make a new
offer to buy Sprint and will instead focus on its tender offer
for Clearwire Corp. 
    The Nikkei rose 1.3 percent to 13,169.97 by the
midday break after hitting a one-week high of 13,296.62 earlier.
    "Speculations about the Fed's decision are still keeping
investors on the sidelines, so volume may be low. But Wall
Street's optimistic stance on the Fed outcome is serving as a
tailwind to Japanese stocks," said Yutaka Miura, a senior
technical analyst at Mizuho Securities.
    Investors are looking to the Fed to clarify the outlook on
its massive stimulus programme when it ends its two-day policy
meeting on Wednesday. Global markets have been roiled since Fed
Chairman Ben Bernanke suggested last month that the stimulus
could be reduced in coming months if the economy continued to
recover.
    While bargain hunting kept 29 of 33 Topix subsectors in
positive territory, the utility sector dropped 1.2
percent and was the worst sectoral performer after Tokyo
Electric Power Co nosedived 6.7 percent. The company 
said it had found high levels of toxic strontium in groundwater
at the devastated nuclear plant in Fukushima. 
    The Topix gained 1.2 percent to 1,098.88.
    With some technical signs showing that Japanese stocks are
oversold, investors scooped up bargains. But market players said
that investors may not want to take big positions until there is
more clarity on the Fed's outlook for its stimulus.
    "It's merely a technical rebound," said Mitsushige Akino,
chief fund manager at Ichiyoshi Asset Management. He said that
with the market still vulnerable to selling, "most investors
want to see the outcome before they take long positions."
    The Japanese market has seen extreme volatility accompanied
by steep declines over the past few weeks as investors cut their
long Japanese equities and short yen positions on worries of
reduced stimulus from the Fed.
    Disappointment over an underwhelming package of structural
reforms unveiled by the Japanese government recently and worries
over slowing growth in China also contributed to the market
tumult.
    The benchmark Nikkei, which slumped into bear market
territory last week, has fallen 17 percent since reaching the 
mulityear high on May 23. It is still up 6.5 percent since April
4, when the Bank of Japan unveiled sweeping stimulus measures
and has risen 27 percent this year.
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