TOKYO, Feb 8 (Reuters) - Japan’s Nikkei share average rebounded on Monday, crawling back from an early two-week low as a weak yen offset concerns about weak Japanese companies’ earnings and slumping U.S. stocks.
The Nikkei was up 1.4 percent at 17,057.53 points by mid-afternoon after falling as low as 16,552.30 in morning trade, the lowest since Jan. 22.
The market turned positive after the dollar rose above 117 yen.
“Investors are seen unwinding their buy-yen, sell-stocks positions which were persistent in the past few days,” said Yutaka Miura, a senior technical analyst at Mizuho Securities.
Investors remained on edge after U.S. stocks fell on Friday, while mixed U.S. jobs data failed to provide clues on the Federal Reserve’s policy outlook.
On Friday, U.S. employment gains slowed more than expected in January as the boost to hiring from unseasonably mild weather faded, but rising wages and an unemployment rate at an eight-year low suggested the labor market recovery remains firm.
Exporters turned higher, with Honda Motor Co rising 0.3 percent and Nissan Motor Co adding 0.7 percent.
Toyota Motor Corp trimmed its earlier losses but stayed weak, falling 0.6 percent after reporting tepid earnings for the third quarter.
“While worries about a global economic slowdown still linger, investors are favoring defensive stocks with high dividend yields,” said Chihiro Ohta, general manager at investment research and investor services at SMBC Nikko Securities.
Such stocks include NTT Corp and NTT Docomo , which rose 2.9 percent and 2.4 percent, respectively.
The broader Topix gained 1.2 percent to 1,385.33 and the JPX-Nikkei Index 400 added 1.1 percent to 12,499.71. (Editing by Kim Coghill)