May 24, 2017 / 2:34 AM / a year ago

Nikkei rises as weak yen helps exporters; financials up on U.S. yields

* Automakers, electronics stocks gain

* Shimamura tumbles on weak monthly sales

By Ayai Tomisawa

TOKYO, May 24 (Reuters) - Japan’s Nikkei share average rose on Wednesday morning helped by exporters after the dollar gained against the yen, while financials gained ground thanks to a rise in U.S. Treasury yields.

The Nikkei rose 0.4 percent to 19,698.31 in midmorning trade.

Wall Street’s strength lifted the mood in the Tokyo market. While Tuesday’s U.S. economic data was weak, investors were relieved that U.S. President Donald Trump’s first full budget plan was largely as expected, even if it is not expected to be approved in Congress.

“The Japanese market hasn’t recovered from a recent drop when it was sold on U.S. turmoil. There is room to rise as long as U.S. stocks are strong,” said Masaru Hamasaki, head of market and investment information department at Amundi Japan.

The Nikkei rose to a 17-month high of 19,998.49 on May 16 supported by the weakening yen, but two days later, it dropped more than 500 points on fears that allegations against Trump over his interference with a federal investigation would destabilise his presidency and delay his efforts on tax cuts and economic stimulus.

Traders said that while investors are cautiously focused on developments on U.S. political issues, U.S. stocks’ resilience helps recover investors’ risk appetite.

The dollar rose 0.15 percent at 111.945 yen, its highest in a week, helping such exporters as Honda Motor Co , Tokyo Electron Ltd and Advantest Corp , each rising 1.8 percent, 1.9 percent and 1.7 percent.

Banks and insurers, which invest in higher yielding financial products, were in demand. Sumitomo Mitsui Financial Group rose 1.0 percent, Mizuho Financial Group added 0.8 percent and T&D Holdings surged 1.7 percent.

Bucking the trend, discount apparel chain Shimamura Co dived more than 10 percent and was the second biggest loser on the board after posting weak monthly sales in May.

The broader Topix added 0.4 percent to 1,571.80 and the JPX-Nikkei Index 400 advanced 0.4 percent to 14,022.94. (Editing by Simon Cameron-Moore)

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