Nikkei advances on weak yen, global demand hopes
* Depreciating yen boosts exporter shares * Investors buy Honda, Canon * October export growth offers respite from economic gloom By Thomas Wilson TOKYO, Nov 20(Reuters) - Japanese stocks edged up on Thursday as a further weakening of the yen boosted market sentiment. The Nikkei benchmark added 0.2 percent to 17,318.85 by 0142 GMT, not far from a seven-year high scaled last week. "A huge chunk of Japanese corporate profits come from overseas, and with the weak yen, investors are rushing to buy today," said Takashi Hiroki, chief strategist at Monex Inc. in Tokyo. The Japanese currency traded at 118.20 against the dollar, close to a seven-year low plumbed earlier in the session, prompting investors to buy exporters' shares. Automakers Honda Motor Co and Toyota Motor Corp rose 2.3 percent and 0.9 percent respectively. Electronics manufacturers also performed well, with Panasonic gaining 0.5 percent and Canon climbing 1.3 percent. Should global demand pick up, prospects for Japanese stocks are rosy, said Hiroki, adding "As a target, I can see the Nikkei reaching 18,000." In an positive sign that demand form overseas is increasing, Japanese exports grew in October at their quickest pace since February, data from the finance ministry showed. Shipments to the United States and Asia increased. The latter accounts for more than half of Japanese exports. [ID: nL3N0T82IH] Other gainers included Toray Industries, which soared 7.0 percent to a fresh seven-year high. Shares of Toray stock have jumped as much as 14.1 percent since it said on Monday it would be the sole supplier of carbon fibre for Boeing Co's 777X passenger jet. [ID: nL3N0T71F2] The broader Topix added 0.2 percent to 1,398.90, remaining near an eight-year peak hit on Wednesday. The JPX-Nikkei Index 400 also advanced 0.4 percent to 12,797.39. (1 US dollar = 118.1700 Japanese yen) (Reporting by Thomas Wilson)
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