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Nikkei climbs more than 300 points on weak yen

JIJI

Stocks rose sharply Wednesday, helped by a retreat of the yen against its major peers.

The Nikkei 225 average jumped 309.17 points, or 2.02 percent, to end at 15,587.80, its first close above 15,500 since Dec. 11. The Topix gained 18.18 points to end at 1,250.49.

Brokers said that after a weak opening, the TSE climbed on futures-led buying and the yen’s slide before the outcome is announced of the U.S. Federal Reserve’s latest monetary policy meeting.

Investors are anxious about whether the Fed will decide to wind down its asset purchase program at the Federal Open Market Committee meeting. Market players are divided over when the tapering will begin, though most expect the Fed to wait until January or March.

Still, the market was strong as investors are increasingly confident about the recovery of the U.S. economy, Masashi Oguchi at Mito Securities Co.’s investment information department said, pointing in particular to falling unemployment numbers.

Unlike in May, when Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke spooked the market by suddenly hinting at the possibility of the tapering, players are better prepared to cope because they are now well aware that it must start soon or later, Oguchi said.

Rising issues outnumbered falling ones 1,148 to 469 on the first section, while 155 issues were unchanged. Volume increased to 2.528 billion shares from 1.931 billion Tuesday.

Automakers gathered momentum, with Honda jumping more than 3 percent and Toyota and Mazda up well over 1 percent.

Heavily weighted Nikkei components such as Fast Retailing, the operator of Uniqlo clothing stores, mobile carrier SoftBank and industrial robot maker Fanuc, were upbeat. Fanuc rewrote its listing-to-date high set in May.

JGBs maintain rise

Japanese government bonds rose further Wednesday, though a surge in stock prices capped the upside.

The lead March futures contract on 10-year JGBs finished up 0.05 point at 144.13 after briefly rising to 144.26 in the morning. Volume fell to 27,193 contracts from Tuesday’s 29,886.

In late interdealer trading in cash JGBs, the yield on the latest 332nd 10-year issue with a 0.6 percent coupon stood at 0.660 percent, down from 0.665 percent late Tuesday, after hitting 0.650 percent in the morning.