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Tokyo stocks rise slightly on brisk U.S. equities

JIJI

Stocks gained ground slightly on the Tokyo Stock Exchange Friday, supported by an overnight rise in U.S. equities.

The Nikkei 225 average climbed 19.05 points, or 0.09 percent, to end at 20,118.86. On Thursday, the key market gauge rose 1.43 points.

The Topix, including all first-section issues, closed up 6.37 points, or 0.39 percent, at 1,625.48, after losing 0.23 point the previous day.

Investors took heart from the continuing rally of New York stocks, brokers said.

But Tokyo stocks moved in a narrow range throughout Friday, by contrast to Wall Street, where the Dow Jones industrial average rewrote the record closing high for the second straight day Thursday.

The market remained relatively quiet before a series of upcoming key events in Japan and abroad, brokers said.

“Market sentiment was not bad, but the market lacked vigor,” Hiroaki Hiwada, strategist at Toyo Securities Co., said, adding that Friday’s minor rise was supported by investors hunting for major issues.

As a whole, market players sat on the fence ahead of key events later on Friday and during Japan’s three-day weekend, he said. The Tokyo market will be closed Monday for a national holiday.

The closely watched events include the release on Friday of U.S. retail sales in June, earnings reports from major U.S. companies and Monday’s announcement of China’s gross domestic product for April-June.

“Describing it the other way around, the market remained steady despite a dearth of buying incentives,” said Mitsuo Shimizu, equity strategist at Japan Asia Securities Co. It suggests that investor sentiment in the Tokyo market is gradually improving, he said.

Rising issues outnumbered falling ones 1,241 to 635 in the TSE’s first section, while 147 issues were unchanged.

Volume increased to 2.043 billion shares from Thursday’s 1.739 billion shares.

Automobile-related issues were upbeat, driven by a spurt by auto parts maker Yasunaga.

Nonferrous metal producers, including Furukawa, Mitsui Mining & Smelting and Dowa Holdings, also attracted purchases.

Among other major winners were machinery makers, such as DMG Mori and Makino Milling Machine.

By contrast, clothing store chain operator Fast Retailing was hit by selling due to its disappointing earnings.

Plant seed producer Sakata Seed, as well as semiconductor-related Sumco and Tokyo Electron, were also downbeat.

In index futures trading on the Osaka Exchange, the key September contract on the Nikkei average closed up 30 points at 20,110.