Nikkei hits 8-month high as weak yen lifts exporters
* Nikkei up for 5 straight session * Kuroda's comments seen pressuring yen and supporting shares * Nikon, Sumco, automakers lead gains By Hideyuki Sano TOKYO, Sept 12 (Reuters) - Japanese share prices rose for the fifth straight session to an eight-month high on Friday, with exporters leading the gains on the yen's weakness. Japan's Nikkei share average rose 0.4 percent to 15,979.24 points, hitting its highest level since late January at one point. If gains were sustained, it will be up 1.9 percent for the week, outperforming most other share markets in the world that dropped this week. While the prospects of earlier and faster rate hikes by the U.S. Federal Reserve have hurt shares around the globe, they have helped to weaken the yen to six-year low of 107.29 to the dollar, thus lifting many Japanese exporters shares. In addition, Bank of Japan Governor Haruhiko Kuroda told Prime Minister Shinzo Abe on Thursday he is prepared to take whatever steps needed to achieve the central bank's 2 percent inflation target if it comes under threat. "BOJ governor Kuroda reiterated last night that monetary policy in Japan is remaining extremely accommodative. There's no suggestion of policy normalisation you're seeing in the U.S.," said Stefan Worrall, director of equity cash sales at Credit Suisse in Tokyo. Exporters seen as having high sensitivity to the yen's fall led the gains, with camera maker Nikon rising 2.2 percent and silicon wafer manufacturer Sumco Corp 4.2 percent. Fuji Heavy Industries Ltd added 1.8 percent while Toyota rose 1.5 percent. Some market players also say exporters have further room for gains, noting that their rises have been relatively small in comparison to the size of the yen's fall. The yen has fallen 4.2 percent since the end of July but the Nikkei has risen only 2.2 percent in the same period. "The Nikkei has been slow to catch up to the moves that we've seen so far in the currency. Exporters, in particular, deserve further upside," Worrall said. The broader Topix gained 0.3 percent, hitting a six-year high while the new JPX-Nikkei Index 400 rose 0.2 percent. Bank shares also gained as rise in bond yields raised hopes for higher interest income in the future. SMFG rose 0.8 percent while Mitsubishi UFJ Financial Group gained 0.8 percent. Sony rose 2.8 percent, hitting a 13-month high, extending its recovery after the announcement of strong quarterly earning results last month. (Additional reportin by Tomo Uetake; Editing by Kim Coghill)
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