Nikkei hits 7-week high as Syrian crisis worries ease

Tue Sep 10, 2013 10:09pm EDT

* Nikkei rises 0.7 pct, Topix up 0.5 pct
    * Automakers up as yen weakens past 100 level vs dollar
    * Some profit-taking takes place in Olympics-related plays
    * Nikkei may top 15,000 by end of Sept - fund manager

    By Tomo Uetake
    TOKYO, Sept 11 (Reuters) - Japan's Nikkei average rose to a
seven-week high on Wednesday morning, following a positive close
on Wall Street and the yen's slide against the dollar, with
easing worries over Syria and upbeat Chinese data aiding
sentiment.
    The benchmark Nikkei rose 0.7 percent to 14,526.21,
its highest since July 25, in mid-morning trade. The index
climbed 4.1 percent over the past two trading days, buoyed by
euphoria over Tokyo's winning bid for the 2020 Olympics and
Japan's strong second-quarter growth.    
    The broader Topix added 0.5 percent to 1,196.39.
Trading was fairly active by mid-morning, with volume on the
Topix at 53.8 percent of its full daily average for the past 90
days.
    "Global investors have turned to risk-on on the back of
rising hopes for a diplomatic solution to the Syrian crisis,
which drove the yen lower (to the dollar) and sent stocks
higher," said Mitsushige Akino, chief fund manager at Ichiyoshi
Asset Management.
    "Although some Olympics-related shares were hit by
profit-taking today, hosting the (2020 Summer) Games itself is a
positive for Japanese stocks in the long term. It really changed
the momentum of the market," Akino added.
    U.S. stocks rose on Tuesday, with the S&P 500 index
advancing for its longest stretch since early July, as an
alternative proposal emerged that could avert a possible Western
military strike on Syria and Chinese economic data reinforced
the view the world's second-largest economy was stabilising.
    The dollar rose to as high as 100.55 yen on trading
platform EBS on Wednesday, its highest level versus the Japanese
currency since July 22. 
    As a weaker yen tends to make export-reliant Japan's
products more competitive in the global market, automakers
gained ground. Toyota Motor Corp rose 0.8 percent,
Mitsubishi Motors Corp jumped 6.2 percent and Mazda
Motor Corp advanced 2.2 percent.
    Construction shares, which led the recent rally on Tokyo's
successful Olympics bid, lost ground. Taisei Corp shed
1.7 percent to become the most traded stock on the main board
and Kajima Corp retreated 1.6 percent.
    Ichiyoshi's Akino predicts the benchmark Nikkei will reach
15,000 by the end of September. "I think most foreign
institutional investors are still sitting on the sidelines but
they may return to the Tokyo market as early as next week."
    The Nikkei is up 40 percent this year, spurred by the
government's expansionary fiscal policy and the Bank of Japan's
aggressive monetary stimulus, but is down 9 percent since its
May peak.
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