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Japanese stocks rise on year-end trading

Japanese stocks rise on year-end trading

Japanese stocks edged upward Friday to wrap up a turbulent 2006, with a key index ending 6.9 percent higher than the last day of trade last year.
The benchmark Nikkei 225 stock index rose 1.02 points, or 0.01 percent, to finish a quiet half-day session at 17,225.83 points on the Tokyo Stock Exchange Friday _ the Nikkei's highest close since May 9.
The Nikkei grew for the fourth straight year, but that growth was well below a 40 percent annual advance in 2005 amid encouraging signs of an economic recovery in Japan.
The half day of trade Friday wrapped up a turbulent year in Japanese markets. A scandal involving Internet startup Livedoor Co. in January sparked a frenzied sell-off that shut down the Tokyo bourse, which could not handle the surge in trading volume.
The decision by Japan's central bank to raise interest rates in July for the first time in six years then stunted the market's recovery, analysts have said.
Shin Yamaji, retail equipment manager at Mitsubishi UFJ Securities, said foreign investors bought Japanese stocks of manufacturers with advanced technologies, including steelmakers, helping the index bounce back toward the year's end.
"The Nikkei will probably go up to the mid-17,000 level" in the coming year, said Daiwa Securities SMBC General Manager Kazuhiro Takahashi said. "Then, investors will wait and see if there will be any additional cues."
Friday's rise was led by exporters like Matsushita Electric Industrial Co., Toyota Motor Corp. and Nissan Motor Co., as the yen's recent weakness encouraged investors to buy autos and electronics.
Matsushita Electric rose 1.93 percent to 2,375 yen (US$19.96), Toyota posted a 0.51 percent to 7,960 yen (US$66.89) and Nissan added 0.85 percent to 1,433 yen (US$12.04).
Steelmakers also moved higher, with Nippon Steel Corp. rising 1.03 percent to 684 yen (US$5.75).
A weaker yen against the dollar helps Japan's exporters by making their products cheaper overseas.
The broader Topix index, which includes all shares on the exchange's first section, rose 2.16 points, or 0.12 percent, to 1,681.07 points.
First-section volume rose to 984 million shares, from Thursday's 694 million shares. Despite the Nikkei's gains, decliners beat advances 813 to 693, with 204 issues unchanged.
In currency trading, the U.S. dollar bought 118.92 yen on the Tokyo foreign exchange market at 5 p.m. (0800 GMT) Friday, down from 118.93 yen from late Thursday in New York. The euro rose to US$1.3169 from US$1.3146 late Thursday.
The yield on the 10-year Japanese government bond rose to 1.6750 percent from Thursday's finish of 1.6600 percent. Its price fell to 100.21, from 100.34.


Updated : 2021-05-17 21:50 GMT+08:00