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Nikkei extends winning streak

JIJI

Stocks extended their winning streak to a fifth session on in Tokyo on Friday, backed by solid Wall Street performance, but their gains were limited as profit-taking and selling on a rally ballooned.

The Nikkei 225 average ended up 3.77 points, or 0.02 percent, at 15,318.34. On Thursday, the key market gauge climbed 100.94 points.

The Topix was up 0.18 point, or 0.01 percent, to close at 1,270.68, after rising 8.37 points the previous day.

Opening moderately higher in the wake of a rise in U.S. equities, the key market gauges soon slipped into negative territory, dampened by profit-taking after the Nikkei surged some 536 points Monday through Thursday.

They later cut losses and hovered around the previous day’s closing levels in a tug of war between buying on dips and selling on a rally, brokers said.

Trading was thin as institutional investors at home and abroad retreated to the sidelines in the middle of the annual Bon holiday, brokers said. Position-adjustment selling prior to the weekend also weighed down stock prices, they said.

Export-oriented and domestic demand-related names with large market capitalization came under selling pressure while small-cap issues with fresh incentives drew buying interest of individual investors, brokers said.

Investor sentiment was bolstered by news that Russian President Vladimir Putin indicated Thursday that Russia would explore cooperation with the international community to stabilize the Ukrainian situation, said Hiroichi Nishi, equity general manager at SMBC Nikko Securities Inc.

“I can say the course of the Tokyo market would be really brilliant if the Nikkei tops its 25-day moving average,” said Akira Tanoue, deputy managing director at Nomura Securities Co.’s Investment Research & Investor Services Department.

Rising issues outnumbered falling ones 948 to 695 on the Tokyo Stock Exchange’s first section, while 174 issues were unchanged.

Volume sank to 1.579 billion shares from Thursday’s 1.837 billion shares.

Shipping firms Kawasaki Kisen, Mitsui O.S.K. Lines and Nippon Yusen posted massive gains after the Baltic Dry Index for freight rates rose for the ninth straight session.

Sony climbed for the fifth consecutive session following a newspaper report on Friday that the major electronics maker will start business of sensors for vehicle cameras.

Other winners included megabank group Mizuho and realtors Mitsui Fudosan and Sumitomo Realty.

On the other hand, issues linked to the European economy were sluggish on heightened concerns over an economic slowdown in Europe after April-June euro zone gross domestic product was unchanged. Among them were air conditioner maker Daikin Industries, optical equipment maker Olympus and printer manufacturer Seiko Epson.

Also on the minus side were mobile carrier Softbank, automaker Toyota, megabank groups Mitsubishi UFJ and Sumitomo Mitsui.

In index futures trading on the Osaka Exchange, the key September contract on the Nikkei average ended up 30 points at 15,320.