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Japan's Nikkei hits 6-week peak; higher bond yields lift banking sector


[TOKYO] Japan's Nikkei brushed a six-week peak on Tuesday, with exporters lifted by a weaker yen and a bounce in bond yields buoying the banking sector.

The Nikkei share average ended the day up 0.35 per cent at 21,392.10 after touching 21,438.35, its highest since Aug 1. There were 161 advancers on the Nikkei index against 64 decliners.

The index has risen for the sixth consecutive session as an ebb in US-China trade war concerns has lifted global equities.

"The market's rise is a continuation of its recent gains. The advance has slowed, however, with a wait-and-see mood setting in ahead of some key monetary policy decisions," said Yoshinori Shigemi, global market strategist at JP Morgan Asset Management.

Market voices on:

The European Central Bank will review policy on Thursday and the Federal Reserve begins a two-day meeting on Sept 17, followed by the Bank of Japan on Sept 18-19.

Shares of exporting carmakers rose as the yen slipped to its lowest level since early August against the dollar.

Toyota Motor Corp added 1.3 per cent, Honda Motor Co climbed 2.4 per cent and Subaru gained 2.3 per cent.

Nissan Motor Co advanced 3.7 per cent, outperforming its peers after news that company CEO Hiroto Saikawa will resign, bowing to pressure after he admitted to being improperly overpaid.

Mitsubishi UFJ Financial Group gained 4 per cent, Mizuho Financial Group rose 3.3 per cent and Sumitomo Mitsui Financial Group climbed 3.4 per cent thanks to a rebound in bond yields, which are expected to reinforce banks' profitability.

Yields of major government bonds pulled back sharply from recent lows as risk appetite improved and lessened investor demand for safe-haven debt.

Shares of companies with heavy exposure to China gained amid the continuing retreat in US-China trade conflict concerns. Construction machinery makers Komatsu Ltd and Hitachi Construction Machinery Co rose 3 per cent and 4.5 per cent, respectively. Robot manufacturer Fanuc Corp advanced 3.2 per cent.

The broader Topix rose 0.44 per cent to 1,557.99.

The stocks that gained the most among the top 30 core names in Topix were Mitsubishi UFJ Financial Group, followed by followed by Panasonic Corp, which rose 3.4 per cent.

The weakest performers in the Topix 30 were Recruit Holdings Co Ltd, which fell down 2.6 per cent, followed by Sony Corp's loss of 2 per cent.

The volume of shares traded on Topix was 1.21 billion yen, compared to the average of 1.11 billion in the past 30 days.