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Nikkei closes at six-month high

JIJI

The Nikkei 225 average ended at a fresh six-month high above 15,600 on Tuesday, buoyed by purchases amid the yen’s weakness against other major currencies and robust performances of other Asian equities.

The Nikkei rose 88.67 points, or 0.57 percent, to 15,618.07. It last closed above 15,600 on Jan. 23.

The Topix gained 4.34 points, or 0.34 percent, to end at 1,290.41.

The key indexes extended their winning streak to a third session.

Stocks opened on a firm note after the U.S. Dow Jones industrial average snapped its three-session losing streak overnight.

The Nikkei extended some gains to top 15,600 in midmorning trading, driven by index futures-led purchases, brokers said.

Stock prices climbed further in the afternoon on the back of rosy performances of other Asian equities, including Shanghai, and the yen’s easing against other major currencies, brokers said.

Market sentiment was brightened by strong earnings reports Monday from automaker Nissan and Keyence, a maker of sensor and measuring equipment for factory automation systems, brokers said.

The Nikkei remained range-bound around 15,100 to 15,500 between June and late last week, but since it topped 15,500 on Monday, its range climbed to 15,500 to 16,000, said Hiroaki Hiwada, senior strategist at the investment information department of Toyo Securities Co.

Still, trading lacks vigor, below ¥2 trillion in value and 2.5 billion shares in volume, both key thresholds, for most market days in July, brokers said.

“Behind such sluggish value and volume are the absence of powerful incentives to fully drive up stock prices,” Hiwada said.

Investors were waiting to see the outcome of a two-day meeting of U.S. Federal Reserve policymakers that was to start later Tuesday and the release Wednesday of U.S. second-quarter gross domestic product data, brokers said.

Rising issues outpaced falling ones 1,031 to 618 in the first section, while 161 issues were unchanged.

Volume decreased to 1.681 billion shares from Monday’s 1.931 billion.

Nissan and Keyence surged 1.85 percent and 3.04 percent, respectively.

The weaker yen shored up export-oriented names, such as electronics makers Hitachi and Fujitsu and camera maker Canon.

Realtors Mitsui Fudosan and Mitsubishi Estate were buoyant.

On the other hand, automaker Honda, robot maker Fanuc and mobile carrier NTT Docomo slumped.

In the financial sector, megabank groups Mizuho and Mitsubishi UFJ and brokerage firm Nomura and nonbank lender Aiful were downbeat.