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Japanese stocks advance on easing concerns about insurers

Japanese stocks advance on easing concerns about insurers

Japanese stocks closed higher Wednesday as investors bought financial and insurance sectors on easing concerns over so-called U.S. monoline insurers.
But many investors were cautiously watching if U.S. Federal Reserve chairman Ben Bernanke focuses on downside risks to economic growth or suggests further rate cuts during his testimony to Congress later this week.
The benchmark Nikkei 225 index rose 206.58 points, or 1.49 percent, to close at 14,031.30 on the Tokyo Stock exchange. The index Tuesday fell 0.65 percent.
"The Nikkei will probably start factoring in a Fed rate cut of 50 basis point in March," said Tsuyoshi Segawa, equity strategist at Shinko Securities.
Insurance and banking shares led Wednesday's gains after Moody's Investors Service affirmed top-notch credit ratings for MBIA Inc., reducing worries about insurers of so-called "monolines" _ single financial services such as home mortgages or one class of insurance.
T&D Holdings rose 5.1 percent and Millea Holdings added 1.5 percent. Mizuho Financial Group climbed 3.3 percent and Sumitomo Mitsui Financial Group increased 2 percent.
Technology shares also rallied after a US$15 billion (euro10 billion) stock buyback plan from IBM Corp. Tuesday boosted sentiment in the sector. Sony rose 2.3 percent and TDK advanced 1.5 percent.
Car makers rose on strong domestic production reports released Tuesday. Nissan Motor rose 1.7 percent, while Mazda Motor rose 6 percent.
The Topix index of all the exchange's first section issues was up 17.05 points, or 1.27 percent, at 1,364.52 after losing 0.60 percent Tuesday.
In currencies, the dollar was trading at 107.04 yen at midafternoon in Tokyo, down from 107.26 yen late Tuesday in New York. The euro bought US$1.5017 compared to US$1.4983 late Tuesday in New York, renewing all time highs.


Updated : 2021-06-25 20:39 GMT+08:00