Japan’s Nikkei hits more than 7-week high as weaker yen lifts exporters

TOKYO, Feb 6 (Reuters) – Japan’s Nikkei share average rose on Monday to its highest in more than seven weeks, as a weaker yen boosted exporters like automakers and trading firms surged on robust earnings outlook.

The Nikkei had jumped 1.06% to 27,801.97 by the midday break, touching its highest since Dec. 15. The broader Topix was up 0.61% at 1,982.28.

The yen weakened to a three-week low after a report Bank of Japan Deputy Governor Masayoshi Amamiya was being sounded out to be the next governor and strong U.S. jobs data suggested the Federal Reserve could stay hawkish for longer.

“The yen weakened and the U.S. economy looks firm, which is the best scenario for Japanese exporters,” said Jun Morita, general manager of the research department at Chibagin Asset Management.

The auto industry index jumped 2.11%, with Toyota Motor and Honda Motor rising 1.88% and 2.75%, respectively. Mitsubishi Motors jumped 5.97%.

Trading firms rose 2.67% to become the best performer among the 33 industry sub-indexes, after Mitsui & Co and Mitsubishi Corp lifted their full-year profit forecasts and promised to pay higher dividends.

Mitsubishi Corp surged 7.84% to become the best performer on the Nikkei. Sumitomo Corp rose 3.79% and Mitsui gained 0.86%.

Fast Retailing, the owner of Uniqlo brand, rose 3.03% and was the biggest boost to the Nikkei. Phone company KDDI rose 1.56% and auto parts maker Denso jumped 4.42%.

All but two sub-indexes rose. The Insurance sector lost 0.44% and the banking sector slipped 1.86%.

Of the Nikkei components, 193 advanced, 29 fell and three traded flat. (Reporting by Junko Fujita; Editing by Subhranshu Sahu)

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