March 1, 2017 / 2:28 AM / a year ago

Nikkei jumps as yen decline boosts exporters, Trump's address awaited

TOKYO, March 1 (Reuters) - Japanese stocks rose on Wednesday as the yen weakened against the dollar, with investors awaiting U.S. President Donald Trump’s looming address to Congress for further catalysts.

The Nikkei share average was up 1.1 percent at 19,335.97.

Trump’s appearance before Congress at around 0200 GMT is keenly awaited as equities, particularly U.S. stocks, have risen steadily on hopes that the president would announce a raft of measures to stimulate the economy.

“In focus is whether Trump touches upon measures he had pledged prior, like large tax cuts, infrastructure spending and repeal of Obamacare,” said Masahiro Ichikawa, senior strategist at Sumitomo Mitsui Asset Management.

“The markets, however, could be disappointed if Trump does not provide specifics for his various policies.”

Boosting the Nikkei in early trade, the yen slipped to a near one-week low against the dollar following hawkish comments from several top Federal Reserve officials.

Exporters in particular were buoyed by the weaker yen. Mazda Motor Corp added 2.6 percent, Toyota Motor Corp rose 1.3 percent, Panasonic Corp climbed 1.6 percent and Mitsubishi Electric Corp advanced 1.4 percent.

Travel agency H.I.S. Co was down 3.5 percent after the company reported a 46 percent drop in its first quarter operating profit.

Shiseido Co gained more than 4 percent after the cosmetics maker said Japan’s health ministry approved the effectiveness of a substance that helps minimise wrinkles.

The broader Topix was up 0.8 percent at 1,547.91 and the JPX-Nikkei Index 400 rose 0.9 percent to 13,871.58. (Editing by Shri Navaratnam)

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