March 10, 2017 / 2:48 AM / a year ago

Nikkei rises to 1-week high on weak yen before U.S. data

* Nikkei trades above expected future settlement price

* Financials outperform on higher U.S. yields

By Ayai Tomisawa

TOKYO, March 10 (Reuters) - Japan’s Nikkei share average rose to a one-week high on Friday morning as exporters benefited from the dollar hitting six-week highs against the yen, while investors awaited U.S. jobs data later in the day to provide further evidence that U.S. interest rates are likey to rise.

The Nikkei added 1.3 percent to 19,575.34 at the midday break after hitting as high as 19,582.75, the highest level since March 3. For the week, the benchmark index has risen 1.3 percent so far.

“The dollar trading above the 115 yen-mark is lifting investors’ risk appetites. Expectations for constant U.S. interest rate hikes have triggered a turnaround in Japanese stocks,” said Norihiro Fujito, a senior investment strategist at Mitsubishi UFJ Morgan Stanley Securities. “The Nikkei being above its settlement price is a sign that investors are likely to chase the market higher.”

Nikkei futures and options contracts expiring in March were forecast to settle at 19,434.30, market participants said on Friday, citing estimates by brokerages.

The dollar was up 0.3 percent at 115.24 yen, firming to its highest levels since Jan. 27, lifting exporter shares. Toyota Motor Corp gained 1.1 percent, Panasonic Corp added 1.3 percent and Tokyo Electron Ltd surged 2.0 percent.

Financial stocks also staged a rally, with Dai-ichi Life Holdings rising 2.4 percent, MS&AD Insurance jumping 2.4 percent and Sumitomo Mitsui Financial Group up 1.2 percent after U.S. yields rose.

The benchmark 10-year Treasury yield was up 4 basis points at 2.594 percent after touching 2.607 percent, which was the highest since Dec. 16 according to Reuters data.

The broader Topix was up 1.1 percent to 1,571.68 and the JPX-Nikkei Index 400 advanced 1.1 percent to 14,067.92.

Editing by Simon Cameron-Moore

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