July 2, 2015 / 2:36 AM / 4 years ago

Nikkei gains more than 1 pct; automakers up on strong U.S. sales, weak yen

* Nissan outperforms peers after posting outstanding U.S.
    * Construction stocks attract buy on strong domestic demand

    By Ayai Tomisawa
    TOKYO, July 2 (Reuters) - Japan's Nikkei share average rose
more than 1 percent on Thursday, led by automakers which
reported strong June sales in the U.S. market, and broadly
supported by a weaker yen.
    The Nikkei share average gained 1.2 percent to
20,568.65 by mid-morning.
    The market has been pressure by Greece's festering debt
crisis, but investors are buying back shares on the dips,
traders said.
    "It's merely a rebound and not aggressive buying," said
Masashi Oda, senior investment officer at Sumitomo Mitsui Trust
Bank, adding that buying force was not strong enough to push the
Nikkei above a 18-1/2-year high of 20,952.71 hit last month. 
    Many investors were also awaiting Thursday's scheduled
release of the closely watched U.S. non-farm payroll report for
June, he noted.
    "If the U.S. economic data is strong, the next thing
investors will see is whether the Federal Reserve will hint a
rate hike amid Greek woes in Europe," he said. "If the Fed takes
a cautious stance on how the global market will perceive that,
its move on a rate decision is in focus now."
    Automakers were strong, with Nissan Motor Co rising
as high as 3.6 percent after its June U.S. sales rose 13 percent
on the year helped by a 54 percent increase in its popular small
SUV Rogue. 
    Honda Motor Co added 2.3 percent after showing a 4
percent rise in U.S. sales, while Toyota Motor Co 
gained 1.3 percent after its June sales rose 4 percent, roughly
in line with expectations.
    Meanwhile, the dollar traded at 123.22 yen, pulling
further away from a five-week low of 121.93.
    Construction stocks attracted buying on hopes for stronger
domestic demand. Kajima Corp jumped 3.2 percent,
Shimizu Corp soared 2.8 percent while Taisei Corp
 surged 2.7 percent. 
    Goldman Sachs analysts say that consumption is expected to
improve in the second half of the year.
    The brokerage favours reflation-related sectors such as
financials and real estate, which had long underperformed
but have been rebounding since spring, it said.
    The broader Topix gained 0.9 percent to 1,650.95 and
the JPX-Nikkei Index 400 rose 0.9 percent to

 (Editing by Kim Coghill)
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