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TMCNet:  Stocks Morning UPDATE1

[January 03, 2013]

Stocks Morning UPDATE1

(Japan Economic Newswire Via Acquire Media NewsEdge) TOKYO, Jan. 4 -- (Kyodo) _ (EDS: ADDING DETAILS, PRICES) The Nikkei surged to a 22-month intraday high on Friday morning, buoyed by the U.S. Congress's passage of a bill to avert the fiscal cliff and the yen's weakness against other major currencies.

The 225-issue Nikkei Stock Average ended the morning up 270.92 points, or 2.61 percent, from the previous session on Dec. 28, at 10,666.10. The broader Topix index of all First Section issues on the Tokyo Stock Exchange was up 24.28 points, or 2.82 percent, at 884.08.

Japan's financial markets were closed until Thursday for year-end and New Year holidays.

All 33 sectors posted gains, led by carmakers, tire makers and insurers.

The Nikkei gained as much as about 340 points at the outset of trading after the Dow Jones Industrial Average rose sharply in the first two days of the year on the last-minute deal to avert the fiscal cliff of tax increases and spending cuts.

Also supporting the market was the yen's slide against the U.S. dollar and the euro in Tokyo trading, giving a boost to export-related shares.

"Market players breathed a sigh of relief and picked up more stocks after the fiscal cliff was averted at least for the time being," said Yutaka Miura, a senior technical analyst at Mizuho Securities Co.

"As seen in high trading volume and value, foreign investors continue to be bullish on Tokyo stocks," Miura said. "The only concern is the pace of the market's ascent. This rally may last another week, but there should be some correction in the near term." The Nikkei has risen about 23 percent since mid-November, when then-Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda pledged to dissolve the lower house of parliament, leading to the Liberal Democratic Party's return to power and the formation of Shinzo Abe's government last month.

Advancing issues outnumbered retreating ones 1,525 to 126 on the First Section, while 44 remained unchanged in the morning.

Toyota Motor rose 190 yen, or 4.7 percent, to 4,195 yen and Honda Motor gained 130 yen, or 4.1 percent, to 3,275 yen.

Bridgestone rose 165 yen, or 7.4 percent, to 2,389 yen and Yokohama Rubber was up 15 yen, or 2.4 percent, to 635 yen.

Factory automation machinery maker Fanuc, one of the Nikkei's most heavily weighted stocks, gained 740 yen, or 4.7 percent, to 16,660 yen.

Struggling electronics maker Sharp fell 8 yen, or 2.6 percent, to 295 yen. Mobile phone operator Softbank eased 5 yen, or 0.2 percent, to 3,135 yen.

(c) 2013 Kyodo News International, Inc.

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