Japanese Stocks Climb; Dollar Up vs. Yen

Published 12:00 am Monday, December 26, 2005

TOKYO – Japanese stocks rose a second straight day Friday, lifted by steel companies with strong earnings expectations.

The Nikkei 225 index added 41.36 points, or 0.23 percent, on the Tokyo Stock Exchange, to 18,157.93 points. The index rose 0.56 percent Thursday.

Investors are unlikely to take aggressive positions before major companies report earnings results for the April-June quarter starting next week, or ahead of the July 29 upper house elections, traders said.

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“We may see polarization in stocks next week _ winners and losers _ depending on the outcome of earnings results,” said Hiroyuki Fukunaga, chief strategist at Rakuten Securities.

Friday gainers included Nippon Steel Corp., which climbed 3.92 percent to 955 yen ($7.83), and Kawasaki Heavy Industries Ltd., which rose 4.46 percent to 566 yen ($4.64). Trading companies also advanced, with Mitsui & Co. rising 2.69 percent to 2,865 yen ($23.48).

Meanwhile, Tokyo Electric Power Co. dropped 2.47 percent to 3,320 yen ($27.21), a fourth straight day of decline. Japan’s largest utility has experienced a series of problems at one of its nuclear plants due to Monday’s earthquake, including a fire and leaks of radioactive material into the ocean. TEPCO shares have fallen 12.4 percent since the quake.

TEPCO said Friday that radioactive material was leaking from an exhaust vent as late as Wednesday night. It said the amounts of radioactivity leaked were too small to pose a threat to the environment or local residents.

The broader Topix index, which includes all shares on the exchange’s first section, gained 8.17 points, or 0.46 percent, to 1,776.17 points.

In currencies, the U.S. dollar was trading at 122.24 yen at 2:50 p.m. Friday, up from 122.06 yen late Thursday in New York. The euro inched down to $1.3802 from $1.3803.

A service of the Associated Press(AP)