January 15, 2019 / 7:00 AM / 10 months ago

Nikkei closes at near one-month high; strong Chinese shares boost mood

* Nintendo soars on media suggestion that Apple buy it

* Investors ‘relieved’ at dollar-yen stability - strategist

* Rising U.S. futures indicate higher New York shares

By Ayai Tomisawa

TOKYO, Jan 15 (Reuters) - Japan’s Nikkei rose to a near one-month high on Tuesday, supported by buying of electronic component makers and other exporters as a weaker yen boosted sentiment.

The Nikkei share average gained 1.0 percent to 20,555.29, its highest close since Dec. 19.

Sentiment was also helped by strong China and Hong Kong share markets as Beijing signalled there will be more stimulus to bolster its slowing economy, a day after the world’s largest trading nation posted poor December trade data.

The trade data dented shares in many markets on Monday, when Japan was closed for a holiday. But on Tuesday, analysts said that investors in Japan focused on positive factors such as the weaker yen and bought back shares of exporters, which had fallen in recent weeks.

The yen weakened 0.5 percent to be 108.72 versus the greenback.

“Investors are relieved that the dollar-yen seems stable now,” said Nobuhiko Kuramochi, a strategist at Mizuho Securities.

“If the dollar falls below 108 yen and nears 105 yen again, they would worry about the impact on corporate earnings but the current level seems comfortable.”

Kuramochi also said that rising U.S. futures are lifting hopes that U.S. shares will open on a strong note later in the day. SP e-mini futures were up 0.7 percent.

Tokyo Electron Ltd rallied 3.2 percent, Kyocera Corp gained 3.3 percent and TDK Corp surged 4 percent.

Nintendo Co jumped 4.6 percent, which traders said reflected reaction to a Barron's article suggesting that Apple Inc buy the Japanese game console maker to spark a turnaround. (here)

“Investors are taking heart from the article. But the rally will likely be short-lived” as the potential consequences of any merger or purchase are not clear, said Hikaru Sato, a senior technical analyst at Daiwa Securities.

The broader Topix rose 0.9 percent to 1,542.72. Advancing issues outnumbered declining ones 1,479 to 577. (Editing by Richard Borsuk)

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