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TOKYO, Sept 16 (Reuters) - Japanese stocks rose on Wednesday morning as investors took confidence from signs of health in the U.S. economy and a rally on Wall Street, while value managers picked up bargains on low price-to-book stocks.
The Nikkei share average rose 1 percent to 18,201.07 during the morning session.
Data showing U.S. consumer spending grew at a healthy pace over the last two months buoyed Japan's major exporters, including its rubber products sector, which rose 3.3 percent during the morning session.
Bridgestone Corp gained 3.6 percent and Yokohama Rubber Co rose 4 percent.
Some market players think value managers at some public institutional investors might be buying blue chip exporters, rubber and heavy machinery stocks to score bargains on shares which are cheap when measured against their book value.
Toyota Motor Corp gained 2.1 percent, Honda Motor Co rose 3.8 percent and Panasonic Corp climbed 3.2 percent.
Long- and medium-term investors remained on the sidelines ahead of Thursday's U.S. Federal Reserve policy meeting, which may end months of speculation on when the Fed will raise interest rates for the first time in nearly a decade. But hedge funds and other short-term investors remained active, market participants said.
"U.S. retail data was stronger than expected and the market reacted very well, increasing expectations of a rate hike," said Makoto Kikuchi, CEO at Myojo Asset Management.
"The fact that the Nikkei is up this morning is a sign that Japanese investors are somewhat at ease with the idea of a rate hike."
Japan's heavy machinery sector outperformed to gain 2.5 percent as Kawasaki Heavy Industries gained percent 5 and Takeuchi Mfg Co rose 6.7 percent.
Pioneer Corp rose 5 percent.
The broader Topix added 1 percent to 1,476.22 and the JPX-Nikkei Index 400 gained 1.1 percent to 13,250.52. (Reporting by Joshua Hunt; Editing by Eric Meijer)