Nikkei rises on Wall St, China's easing; Sony soars on mid-term plan
* Sony jumps to 3 1/2-year high on growth hopes, broker upgrade * Key defensive stocks attract buying on hopes Japan market stays strong By Ayai Tomisawa TOKYO, Nov 25 (Reuters) - Japan's Nikkei share average rose on Tuesday morning as Wall Street's gains and China's interest rate cut encouraged investors to play catch-up after a long weekend. Sony Corp jumped 6.2 percent to a 3 1/2-year high and was the fourth-most traded stock by turnover after it said it expects revenue for its electronic devices division to rise by up to 69 percent over the next three years. JPMorgan raised its rating on Sony to 'overweight' from 'neutral', saying that bad news about its mobile phone and TV businesses was already priced in, and its gaming and network services operation was expected to generate sustainable profits. Investors chased the overall market higher after China cut interest rates unexpectedly on Friday. The Nikkei 225 rose 0.3 percent to 17,414.60 in mid-morning trade after opening at 17,490.39, moving closer to a seven-year high of 17,520.54 marked earlier this month. Meantime, the broader Topix is refreshing its six-year highs, rising 0.6 percent to 1,408.20. "Bellwether defensive stocks such as Mitsubishi UFJ Financial Group are being bought on good sentiment surrounding the Japanese market," said Hikaru Sato, a senior technical analyst at Daiwa Securities. He said it is believed the Japanese market will remain strong thanks to the weak yen, and Prime Minister Shinzo Abe calling an election to seek a fresh mandate to reform the struggling economy. "While the 17,500-mark can be an immediate resistance, there are few reasons to sell now," Sato said. MUFG rose 1.9 percent to a 10-month high and was the fifth most-traded stock by turnover, while other financials were also stronger, with Sumitomo Mitsui Financial Group adding 1.2 percent and Nomura Holdings gaining 0.6 percent. Exporters were steady as the dollar managed to edge up to 118.27 yen nearing a seven-year high of 118.98. Toyota Motor Corp rose 1.4 percent and Honda Motor Co added 1.6 percent. The new JPX-Nikkei Index 400 advanced 0.5 percent to 12,840.42. (Editing by Eric Meijer)
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