Nikkei bounces sharply on yen's retreat, easing tensions in Ukraine
* GPIF shift positive catalyst for stocks in medium-term - analyst * Yen's retreat lifts exporters * Some see Japanese stocks as being oversold By Ayai Tomisawa TOKYO, Aug 11 (Reuters) - Japanese stocks bounced strongly on Monday morning, recouping some of their steep losses suffered on Friday after Wall Street rallied on easing tensions in Ukraine, and exporters rose as the yen stepped back from last week's sharp gains. The Nikkei share average jumped 1.7 percent to 15,031.59 in midmorning trade after dropping 3.0 percent on Friday led by concerns the conflicts in Ukraine and the Middle East could disrupt global growth. The benchmark has fallen nearly 5 percent from a six-month high of 15,759.66 hit just over a week ago. News on Friday that Russia was ending military drills near the Ukrainian border helped U.S. stocks post their best one-day gain since March. Some analysts attributed Monday's gains to a technical rebound as simmering tensions in Iraq remain a worry, although others say the Japanese market was oversold in a short space. "Friday's selling seemed a bit irrational," said Hiromichi Tamura, chief strategist at Nomura Securities. He expects buying to return on positive factors such as plans by the Government Pension Investment Fund to boost the weighting of domestic stocks to more than 20 percent from a current 12 percent target. "In the mid-term, such good news can serve as a positive catalyst," Tamura said. The dollar bought 102.13 yen, having bounced off Friday's two-week trough of 101.51, giving exporters a boost as a weaker yen helps lift earnings when repatriated. Honda Motor Co rose 0.9 percent, Sharp Corp jumped 3.0 percent and Hitachi Ltd rallied 1.9 percent. Fujifilm Holdings Corp rose 2.4 percent after the Nikkei and other media reported last week that a drug from the company has emerged as a key candidate for treating the Ebola virus, which has killed nearly 1,000 people in Africa during a recent outbreak. The broader Topix gained 1.2 percent to 1,242.50, and the JPX-Nikkei Index 400 added 1.2 percent to 11,305.10. (Editing by Shri Navaratnam)
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