Nikkei rises on earnings hopes; Toyota jumps 1.5 pct
* Nikkei up 0.8 percent * Investors seek automakers, electronic manufacturers ahead of earnings announcements * China's stimulus calms slowdown worries By Thomas Wilson TOKYO, Apr 21(Reuters) - Japanese stocks rose on Tuesday morning as growing hopes for strong corporate earnings drove up exporters such as Toyota Motor and Panasonic Corp. The Nikkei benchmark added 0.8 percent to 19,796.72 by 0203 GMT, moving clear of a two week low hit on Monday. Market analysts said that investors are seeking out stocks before earnings announcements, hoping that corporate governance reforms will boost investor returns and help steady a fragile economic recovery. "Strong corporate earnings promise to lead to good returns and a positive outlook for the year ahead," said Masayuki Otani, chief market analyst at Securities Japan, Inc. "It also bodes well for the Japanese economy, by boosting the chances of capital expenditure and higher summer bonuses," he said. Toyota Motor Corp, expected to post strong sales in the U.S., gained 1.5 percent, while Nissan Motor Co Ltd added 1.0 percent and Panasonic Corp climbed 1.9 percent. Traders also said that there was a measure of relief in markets from China's latest step to shore up its faltering economy, which propped up markets in Europe and Wall Street overnight. "Investors in Japan and abroad are responding well to China's fiscal easing," said Masayuki Doshida, senior market analyst at Rakuten Securities. Industrial robot maker Fanuc Corp, which has exposure to China, gained 2.0 percent. Meanwhile, mobile phone carrier Softbank lost 0.5 percent. Canon Inc slipped 0.4 percent after the Nikkei business daily reported the company posted a 15 percent drop in its fourth quarter operating profit, as digital camera sales slumped in Europe. The broader Topix added 0.9 percent to 1,601.55, while the JPX-Nikkei Index 400 was also up, climbing 1.2 percent to 14,529.38. (Reporting by Thomas Wilson; Editing by Shri Navaratnam)
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