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TMCNet:  Stocks Morning UPDATE1

[December 04, 2012]

Stocks Morning UPDATE1

(Japan Economic Newswire Via Acquire Media NewsEdge) TOKYO, Dec. 5 -- (Kyodo) _ (EDS: ADDING INFO) The key Nikkei stock index ended slightly higher Wednesday morning in Tokyo, as persistent hopes for more monetary easing in Japan helped erase earlier losses stemming from a pause in the yen's recent weakness.

The 225-issue Nikkei Stock Average ended the morning up 11.19 points, or 0.12 percent, at 9,443.65. The broader Topix index of all First Section issues on the Tokyo Stock Exchange fell 0.80 point, or 0.10 percent, to 781.17.

Stocks opened slightly lower, with many export-related auto and high-tech shares being sold as the recent weakness in the yen seemed to pause, brokers said. The U.S. dollar dipped to the upper 81 yen level in the morning from above the 82 yen line Tuesday.

They were also weighed down by a fall in U.S. shares overnight amid lingering concerns over the so-called U.S. "fiscal cliff" of tax increases and spending cuts that are to kick in at the start of 2013, dealers said.

But the key Nikkei index turned higher later in the morning, supported by continued hopes for more monetary easing in Japan, which could lead to further depreciation of the yen.

"Hopes for more policy steps after the (Dec. 16 House of Representatives election) are growing," said Tatsunori Kawai, chief strategist at Securities Co.

"Companies may be able to revise upward their earnings forecast when they make announcements on the (fiscal) third quarter performance, after the dollar had risen to 82 yen," Kawai said.

Major gainers included retailing, metal products, and paper and pulp issues, while real estate, insurance and wholesale shares suffered losses.

Advancing issues outnumbered declining ones 749 to 704, with 214 remaining unchanged in the morning.

Among exporters, Toyota Motor fell 15 yen, or 0.4 percent, to 3,495 yen, while Nintendo dropped 140 yen, or 1.4 percent, to 9,750 yen.

But Sharp rose 6 yen, or 3.5 percent, to 180 yen after the company said Tuesday it has agreed with Qualcomm Inc. to jointly develop next-generation display panels, with the U.S. telecommunication product maker investing up to 9.9 billion yen in the struggling electronics maker.

Fast Retailing rose 280 yen, or 1.5 percent, to 18,970 yen after the operator of the Uniqlo casual clothing chain said Tuesday that sales at its domestic stores in November grew 13.7 percent from a year earlier.

(c) 2012 Kyodo News International, Inc.

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