April 20, 2016 / 2:32 AM / 2 years ago

Nikkei rises to 3-week high supported by Wall St gain

* Oil shares outperform after crude price rise

* Exporters mixed after jumping previous day

By Ayai Tomisawa

TOKYO, April 20 (Reuters) - Japan’s Nikkei share average rose to a three-week high on Wednesday morning after U.S. stocks rose and the dollar remained steady against the yen, lifting overall market sentiment.

The Nikkei rose 0.9 percent to 17,021.03 in midmorning trade after hitting an intraday high of 17,099.36, the strongest reading since March 29.

Traders say profit-taking could kick in any time soon with the Nikkei having recovered to above its 17,000-level.

“The stock market has recovered to the levels before it started tumbling in late March on a rising yen. Unless the dollar-yen levels recovers to levels seen then, investors would not chase the market higher,” said Hiroaki Mino, director of investment information department at Mizuho Securities.

Gains in U.S. shares overnight helped risk sentiment. The S&P 500 climbed closer to a record high on Tuesday, lifted by energy stocks and a solid quarterly report from the corporate sector.

Crude futures fell in early Asian trade after Kuwaiti oil workers ended a three-day strike that had cut production from the Middle Eastern country and data showed U.S. stockpiles rose last week. Overnight, oil prices jumped more than 3 percent.

Inpex Corp gained 3.3 percent and Japan Petroleum Exploration Co rose 2.5 percent.

Exporters were mixed after rising sharply the previous day. Toyota Motor Corp dropped 0.4 percent, Honda Motor Co fell 0.3 percent and Canon Inc rose 0.5 percent.

The dollar was back above 109.00 yen, pulling away from Monday’s trough of 107.75.

Outperforming the market was Asahi Glass Co, which jumped more than 5 percent after the Nikkei business daily said that the company’s earnings remained steady in the Jan-March period despite a slump in glass substrate demand.

Daio Paper Corp climbed 2.5 percent after the Nikkei reported that the company’s operating profit for year through March likely grew 10 percent to 24 billion yen ($220.26 million), higher than its projection.

The broader Topix gained 0.4 percent to 1,369.16 and the JPX-Nikkei Index 400 advanced 0.5 percent to 12,384.45.

$1 = 108.9600 yen Editing by Sam Holmes

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