Nikkei rises for 8th day as strong U.S. data, weak yen boost mood

Tue Aug 19, 2014 10:16pm EDT

* Weak yen lifts index-heavy stocks but some exporters fall
on profit-taking
    * Nikkei winning streak longest since Dec
    * Resistance seen at 15,500 - analyst

    By Ayai Tomisawa
    TOKYO, Aug 20 (Reuters) - Japan's Nikkei share average rose
for an eighth day on Wednesday morning as the yen weakened, but
gains were subdued as many investors stuck to the sidelines
ahead of the U.S. Federal Reserve's annual meeting starting on
Thursday.
    The Nikkei rose 0.2 percent to 15,478.72 in
mid-morning trade, refreshing a new two-week high. If it
finishes the day higher, it would mark its longest winning
streak since last December.
    The dollar rose to three-week highs of 102.97 yen in
early trade after solid U.S. housing starts suggested the
nation's housing market recovery was back on track after
stalling in the second half of last year. 
    Analysts said that the weak yen was supporting the mood but
trading volume has been low due to the summer lull as well as
caution ahead of the annual Fed meeting of top central bankers
and economists in Jackson Hole, Wyoming.
    "As there aren't many people participating in the market,
gains may be limited," said Hikaru Sato, a senior technical
analyst at Daiwa Securities, adding that the immediate
resistance line is seen at 15,500.
    Traders said the weak yen lifted risk appetite from
short-term investors in index heavyweight stocks, such as
SoftBank Corp and KDDI Corp, which both rose
1.0 percent.
    However, exporters were mixed as some succumbed to
profit-taking. Toyota Motor Corp fell 0.5 percent,
Honda Motor Co 0.2 percent and Panasonic Corp 
0.5 percent.
    On the other hand, Sony Corp added 1.1 percent and
Tokyo Electron Ltd advanced 0.3 percent.
    Outperforming the market was ABC-Mart Inc, which
surged 3.0 percent after it hiked its dividend payout for the
full year through February to 80 yen per share from 60 yen per
share.
    The broader Topix gained 0.1 percent to 1,281.15,
and the new JPX-Nikkei Index 400 advanced 0.1
percent to 11,661.19.

 (Editing by Kim Coghill)