Nikkei gains as yen drops to 6-year low but volume low before weekend

Thu Sep 4, 2014 9:35pm EDT

* Short-term funds seen major players - analysts
    * For the week, Nikkei has gained 2 percent
    * Sekisui House soars on strong earnings

    By Ayai Tomisawa
    TOKYO, Sept 5 (Reuters) - Japan's Nikkei share average rose
on Friday morning as the dollar rose to a six-year high against
the yen, supported by the European Central Bank's latest
monetary easing.
    The weaker yen helped exporters such as Toyota Motor Corp
 and Honda Motor Co 
    The Nikkei gained 0.3 percent to 15,725.67 in
mid-morning trade, hovering near a seven-month high of 15,829.38
hit on Wednesday. For the week, the index has risen 2.0 percent.
    The ECB cut interest rates to fresh record lows and
announced plans to buy asset-backed securities (ABS) and covered
bonds in October. 
    Analysts said that the weak yen trend supports the overall
mood, but for Friday, the major players seen are short-term
hedge funds, so gains may be trimmed later in the trade.
    "Short-term traders are drawn to Japan as they buy futures
while they sell the yen," said Norihiro Fujito, a senior
investment strategist at Mitsubishi UFJ Morgan Stanley
Securities. "Bellwether stocks like Toyota are rising so
sentiment is positive, but volume in cash trade is not
impressive so the market may become choppy later."
    Fujito said that cash investors refrained from taking large
positions before the weekend.
    Toyota gained 0.7 percent, Honda added 0.4 percent and Canon
Inc advanced 0.3 percent after the dollar climbed to as
high as 105.71 yen, its highest level since October 2008.
 It last stood at 105.60 yen, up 0.3 percent on the day.
    Sekisui House Ltd soared 2.2 percent after its
earnings for the Feb-July period were robust due to its strong
rental housing business.    
    The broader Topix was flat at 1,296.83, and the new
JPX-Nikkei Index 400 rose 0.1 percent to 11,768.22.

 (Editing by Richard Borsuk)
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