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Japan’s Nikkei changes course to rise as yen weakens

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TOKYO — Japan’s Nikkei share average reversed course to rise on Friday, as investors bought back beaten-down stocks with the yen weakening against the dollar.

The Nikkei gained 0.6% to 25,975.14 by the midday break, after opening lower to track Wall Street’s weak finish. The index is set to fall 0.4% for the holiday-shortened week.

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Wall Street’s main indexes lost more than 1% overnight, with Nasdaq leading the declines, as evidence of a tight labor market eroded hopes that the Federal Reserve could pause its rating hiking cycle anytime soon as it keeps focused on inflation.

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The broader Topix rose 0.34% to 1,875.24 and is on course to lose 0.8% for the week.

“The yen’s gain against the dollar since the Bank of Japan’s policy tweak weighed on investor sentiment but the trend changed yesterday,” said Chihiro Ohta, assistant general manager at the investment research and investor services at SMBC Nikko Securities.

“Some investors bought back shares as some of those stocks looked cheap amid the yen’s decline.”

Nikkei’s heavyweights lifted the index, with chip-making equipment maker Tokyo Electron rising 2.555% and technology investor SoftBank Group climbing 1.58%. Fast Retailing, the owner of the Uniqlo clothing brand, rose 0.53%.

Shipping firms jumped 2.9% to become the best performer among the 33 industry sub-indxes on the Tokyo Stock Exchange. Energy explorers rose 2.47% and oil refiners gained 1.31%.

The property sector fell 1.04% and was the worst performer among the industry groups.

Of the 225 Nikkei components, 124 stocks rose and 96 fell.

The volume of shares traded on the exchange’s main board was 0.54 billion, compared to the average of 1.19 billion in the past 30 days. (Reporting by Junko Fujita; Editing by Nivedita Bhattacharjee)

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