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TMCNet:  Stocks Morning UPDATE1

[December 24, 2013]

Stocks Morning UPDATE1

(Japan Economic Newswire Via Acquire Media NewsEdge) TOKYO, Dec. 25 -- (Kyodo) _ (EDS: ADDING INFO) Tokyo stocks were narrowly mixed Wednesday morning in quiet trading as the market's topside was capped by profit-taking after the Nikkei index's five-day rally to a six-year high through the previous day.

The 225-issue Nikkei Stock Average rose 63.91 points, or 0.4 percent, from Tuesday to 15,953.24. The broader Topix index of all First Section issues on the Tokyo Stock Exchange was down 3.18 points, or 0.25 percent, to 1,254.37.

Major gainers included the paper and pulp, construction and retail sectors while oil and coal, mining, and air transport sectors lost ground.

The key market yardsticks were trapped in a narrow range near the previous day's closing levels throughout the morning in thin trading, with foreign investors away for the Christmas holidays.

Some market players moved to cash in on recent gains after the Nikkei surged nearly 5 percent during the five-day rally through the previous day. It briefly broke the 16,000 threshold the previous day for the first time in about six years.

Gains were also capped as individual investors rushed to sell on the final day for settlement under the current preferential tax system for securities investment, brokers said.

Special tax breaks will expire, leading to a doubling of tax rates on capital gains and dividends from the current 10 percent to 20 percent from next year.

Tsutomu Yamada, market analyst at Securities Co., said the Nikkei was driven higher largely due to gains in heavily weighted index components such as Fast Retailing, while declining issues sharply outnumbered advancers.

"With the Nikkei having broken the 16,000 mark the previous day, players were inclined to sell before the tax will be doubled," he said.

Sharp losses were prevented after U.S. shares continued to rise, with the 30-issue Dow Jones Industrial Average closing at a new record high for the fifth straight day.

On the First Section, declining issues outnumbered advancing ones 1,044 to 577, while 153 finished the morning unchanged.

Fast Retailing jumped 1,450 yen or 3.4 percent to 43,800 yen while another heavily weighted Nikkei component KDDI advanced 50 yen or 0.8 percent to 6,420 yen.

Softbank was the morning's most heavily traded issue by turnover, falling 110 yen or 1.3 percent to 8,700 yen following media reports that the mobile phone carrier is considering acquiring fourth-ranked American wireless carrier T-Mobile US Inc. for over 2 trillion yen.

(c) 2013 Kyodo News International, Inc.

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