Nikkei bounces as market awaits word on vote, tax; Sony soars on revenue plan
* Focus on Abe's possible announcement on election, tax * BOJ bought ETFs and J-REITs on Mon * Sony soars to highest since April 2011 on strong mid-term plan By Ayai Tomisawa TOKYO, Nov 18 (Reuters) - Japanese stocks bounced sharply on Tuesday morning as investors waited to see if Prime Minister Shinzo Abe will call a snap election and consider fresh measures to support the economy after it slipped into recession in the third quarter. Sony Corp stole the spotlight, soaring 5.8 percent to 2,464.5 yen, the highest since April 2011, after it said it is aiming to garner up to $11 billion in revenue from its movie business in three years time, a 36 percent increase over levels forecast for the current financial year. The Nikkei benchmark closed the morning session up 1.7 percent to 17,258.97 after tumbling 3.0 percent to 16,973.80 on Monday, its lowest since Nov 10. Monday's decline came despite the Bank of Japan's ETF buying operation. The BOJ purchased 38 billion yen of exchange-traded funds (ETFs) as well as 1.2 billion yen worth of Japanese real estate investment trusts (J-REITs) on Monday, as part of its recently beefed-up economic stimulus campaign. In recent days, Media had reported that Abe could announce his decision to delay the hike for 18 months as early as Tuesday and call an election for parliament's lower house. Ruling party lawmakers expect the poll to be held on Dec. 14. "The Japanese market had risen sharply so yesterday's shock caused volatility. The market's focus now is whether Abe can continue to draw support from voters, and what kind of measures he will announce," said Isao Kubo, equity strategist at Nissay Asset Management. Japan's economy unexpectedly slipped into recession in the third quarter, after a hike in the national sales tax clobbered consumption. However, despite the downbeat GDP data, some economists are taking a more measured view of the outlook for growth. "Consumer spending recovered in August and September, albeit gradually," Tomo Kinoshita, chief Japan economist at Nomura Securities wrote in a report. He said a delay in the consumption tax hike and yen weakness should help the economy recover. Exporters rose, with Toyota Motor Corp up 2.2 percent and Honda Motor Co 1.4 percent higher. The broader Topix rose 1.6 percent to 1,388.01, and the new JPX-Nikkei Index 400 gained 1.6 percent to 12,667.54. (Editing by Shri Navaratnam)
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