March 18, 2015 / 6:50 AM / 4 years ago

Nikkei rises to fresh 15-year high; Nintendo jumps 21 pct

TOKYO, March 18 (Reuters) - Japan's Nikkei share average
rose to a fresh 15-year high on Wednesday on hopes for an
economic recovery and higher shareholder returns, while Nintendo
Co jumped 21 percent after it said it will enter the smartphone
gaming industry.
    The Nikkei ended 0.6 percent higher at 19,544.48,
the highest closing since April 2000.
    Nintendo soared to its daily limit of 17,080 yen
after remaining untraded during trading hours as its buy orders
outnumbered sell orders. Tokyo Stock Exchange rules mean that a
glut of bid orders, unmatched by sufficient sell orders, can
leave shares untraded during the day. 
    Analysts said that investors have continued to buy Tokyo
shares on hopes for steady improvement in Japan's economy and
increased shareholder returns.
   "The fact that Toyota is hitting fresh record highs means
that investors think Japanese stocks will rise further," said
Norihiro Fujito, senior investment strategist at Mitsubishi UFJ
Morgan Stanley Securities. "When they are bullish on Japan, they
buy Topix's large components such as Toyota and mega banks."
    Toyota Motor Corp rose 1.5 percent to 8,463 yen
after touching a fresh record high of 8,480 yen, while
Mitsubishi UFJ Financial Group gained 1.7 percent and
SMFG advanced 0.7 percent.
    Markets awaited the U.S. Federal Reserve's policy statement
later in the day for more clues on when it will raise interest
    The broader Topix gained 0.8 percent to 1,582.46 and
the JPX-Nikkei Index 400 added 0.6 percent to

 (Reporting by Ayai Tomisawa; Editing by Richard Borsuk)
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