Nikkei hits 3-wk high on US data, Renesas jumps on Apple report
* U.S. data lifts foreign investors' risk appetite - traders * Renesas at 3-yr high, Apple reportedly in talks to buy unit stake * Kyushu Elec dives, said to be seeking capital injection By Ayai Tomisawa TOKYO, April 2 (Reuters) - Japan's Nikkei share average bounced back to a three-week high on Wednesday, tracking gains on Wall Street, while Renesas Electronics Corp jumped on a report that Apple is in talks to buy its stake in a chip design unit. Renesas soared as much as 19 percent to 934 yen - its highest since March 2011 - after the Nikkei business daily said Apple Inc is in discussions to buy its stake in a unit that designs liquid crystal display chips for iPhones for about 50 billion yen ($483 million). The Nikkei was up 1.5 percent at 15,011.68 in midmorning trade after rising as high as 15,021.12, its highest level since March 11. Market participants said investors took heart from positive U.S. data on factory activity, which signalled that economic growth was gaining traction following a harsh winter. The Institute for Supply Management (ISM) said its index of national factory activity rose to 53.7 in March, its second straight monthly acceleration. "The market is cheering a sign of recovery in the U.S. economy, and foreigners who sold last week are chasing the market higher," said Shigemitsu Tsuruta, a senior strategist at SMBC Friend Securities. The dollar bought 103.66 yen, having hit a 3-1/2 week peak of 103.71, lifting exporters including makers of cars and electronics. Toyota Motor Corp rose 1.2 percent and Tokyo Electron Ltd gained 3.5 percent. A weaker yen can increase Japanese firms' competitiveness abroad as well as their overseas profits when repatriated. On the downside, Kyushu Electric Power Co tumbled 6.5 percent to a two-month low after a source told Reuters that the utility is seeking a capital injection worth 100 billion yen from the state-owned Development Bank of Japan. Hokkaido Electric Power Co had similarly dived on Tuesday after a source said that utility was asking the DBJ to buy 50 billion yen worth of preferred shares in the company. The electric and gas subsector extended its decline into a second day, down 0.9 percent and becoming the worst-performing sector. The broader Topix rose 1.3 percent to 1,220.01. The JPX-Nikkei Index 400, a gauge comprised of companies with a high return on equity and robust corporate governance, added 1.3 percent to 11,037.98. (Editing by Chris Gallagher)
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