Nikkei advances on hopes of dovish Fed, weak oil prices
* 50-day moving average supports Nikkei - trader * Tumbling oil prices a boon for Japanese exporters * Japan Tobacco falls on Russia fears By Thomas Wilson TOKYO, Dec 17(Reuters) - Japanese stocks rose on Wednesday as hopes of a continuation of the U.S. Federal Reserve's dovish stance on rates helped exporter shares brush off a stronger yen, and chart support staunched the Nikkei's recent losses. The Nikkei benchmark ticked up 0.5 percent to 16,834.53 by 0155 GMT, after quickly recouping slim losses at the open. On Tuesday the benchmark closed at its lowest level since Oct. 31, when the Bank of Japan shocked markets by unexpectedly easing policy. But traders said the correction has likely run its course, with the Nikkei now propped up by its 50-day moving average of 16,554.52. "The technicals in the market are the real support for us today," said Gavin Parry, managing director of Parry International Trading. The Fed's policy meeting wraps up on Wednesday, and policy statement is expected at 1900 GMT, with investors looking to see how dovish the U.S. central bank's stance is on interest rates.[ID: nL1N0TU1P9][ID: nL1N0U01BK] Traders said that sentiment toward the Nikkei was boosted by the prospect of soft U.S. inflation lowering the probability of tightening by the Fed. Plummetting crude oil prices , down by a half since June, have weakened inflation, which aside from providing a dovish influence on the Fed, also helps industrialised nations generally, and will be a boon for Japan's exporters. "The fall in oil prices is a huge positive for Japan and for industrial countries," said Takashi Hiroki, chief strategist at Monex. "It's a plus for American demand, which means a plus for the world." With the rouble falling by as much as a fifth on Tuesday, threatening a repeat of Russia's 1998 financial crisis, investors became more risk averse, and some turned to the safety of the yen - even though the Japanese currency has been in danger of losing its safe haven status. [ID: nL6N0U00MY] Exporter shares, however, shrugged off the stronger Japanese currency, which traded at around 116.71 at 0202 GMT. Automakers Nissan Motor Co Ltd and Honda Motor Co Ltd ticked up 0.4 percent and 0.9 percent respectively. On the negative ledger, Japan Tobacco Inc, highly exposed to Russia, led the Nikkei's losses, tumbling 6.6 percent to an 8-month low. The broader Topix added 0.4 percent to 1,358.15, while the JPX-Nikkei Index 400 also gained 0.4 percent to 12,326.67. (Reporting by Tom Wilson; editing by Simon Cameron-Moore)
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