Japanese shares nudge higher in morning trade

Japanese shares nudge higher in morning trade

Tokyo, 3 October Japanese share prices edged higher in subdued morning trading as investors waited for upcoming economic data after a mixed performance overnight on Wall Street, dealers said.

They said investors were encouraged that the benchmark Nikkei index had managed to hold above the 17,000 points level, which it topped the previous day for the first time in almost two months.

The Tokyo Stock Exchange’s benchmark Nikkei-225 index of leading shares gained 8.71 points or 0.05% to 17,055.49 by lunch, a day after reaching its highest closing level since 9 August.

The broader Topix index of all first-section shares climbed 9.12 points or 0.56% to 1,648.91.

Gainers outnumbered decliners 919 to 650, with 147 issues unchanged.

Turnover fell to 979 million shares from 1.04 billion 2 October morning.

Optimism about corporate earnings and the easing threat from subprime loan problems in the US continued to underpin investor sentiment, dealers said.

Japanese shares continued to attract buying as they have underperformed other stock markets in the world, said Hiroichi Nishi, a general manger of equities at Nikko Cordial Securities.

“In addition, confidence is growing among investors that the worst of the subprime loan-related problems is over," said Nishi.

Investors opted to take profits after the market’s recent rebound, pushing shares into the red briefly in early deals.

Nikko Cordial Corp rose 200 yen or 13.7% to 1,662 yen, the limit high for the day, after the brokerage said Citigroup will take full control of it through a share swap valued at 530 billion yen ($4.6 billion).

Shares of Toshiba Corp and JFE Holdings both edged higher on a report that the two companies have agreed to jointly produce small and medium-size steam turbines for power plants.