April 22, 2016 / 6:21 AM / 2 years ago

Nikkei climbs to 11-1/2 week high on weaker yen, possible BOJ policy moves

TOKYO, April 22 (Reuters) - Japan’s benchmark Nikkei index climbed to an 11-1/2 week high after the U.S. dollar rose above 110 yen for the first time since April 6, lifting a broad swath of shares that benefit from a weaker yen.

The Nikkei share average rose for a fourth straight day to end the day 1.2 percent higher at 17,572.49, its highest since February 2. Japan’s benchmark index ended the week more than 4 percent higher.

A broad range of shares that included banking and securities rose sharply following a late afternoon Bloomberg report that the Bank of Japan is considering applying negative rates to its lending program for financial institutions, which helped push the yen to its lowest point since April 6.

“It’s an indication that this market is a bit frozen that it was shocked higher so easily by this news report,” said Stefan Worrall, director of Japan equity sales at Credit Suisse.

The U.S. dollar’s climb above 110 yen breached what has been seen for weeks as a key level necessary for a sustained rebound, according to Worrall and other market participants.

During the morning session, Japanese stocks had edged down after a dip in oil prices and disappointing U.S. corporate earnings.

Mitsubishi Motors Corp ended the day 13.6 percent lower as it continued to struggle with an unfolding scandal that erupted after the automaker said on Wednesday afternoon that it had overstated the fuel efficiency of 625,000 cars sold in Japan.

The broader Topix climbed 1 percent to an 11-1/2 week high and closed at 1,407.50 with all but six of its 33 subindexes in positive territory. The index ended the week more than three percent higher.

The JPX-Nikkei Index 400 gained 1.1 percent to 12,753.05. (Reporting by Joshua Hunt; Editing by Shri Navaratnam and Eric Meijer)

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