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LEAD: Tokyo stocks end at 2-week high on strong earnings reports.

TOKYO, Feb. 2 Kyodo


Tokyo stocks finished at a two-week high Wednesday with investors regaining their appetite for a wide range of issues following gains in the U.S. markets the previous day and favorable earnings reports from select high-tech companies such as Mitsubishi Electric Corp.

The 225-issue Nikkei Stock Average gained 22.74 points, or 0.20 percent, to 11,407.14, ending above the 11,400 line for the first time since Jan. 19. The key index's closing was the highest since Jan. 18, when it finished at 11,423.26.

The broader Tokyo Stock Price Index of all First Section issues on the Tokyo Stock Exchange advanced 5.48 points, or 0.48 percent, to 1,151.97. It was the highest closing since Jan. 11, when it ended at 1,157.30.

Investor sentiment warmed in the morning after key U.S stock indexes ended at their highest closing levels in about two weeks, said brokers, adding Tuesday's upbeat earnings announcements from Sharp Corp. and Nidec Corp., a maker of precision motors, prompted buying in select high-tech issues.

Companies such as Mitsubishi Electric and drugmaker Eisai Co., which released strong earning reports for the October-December quarter in the afternoon, further lighted up the market atmosphere, brokers said.

Mitsubishi Electric gained 12 yen to 523 yen, and Eisai jumped 100 yen to 3,440 yen.

Yet the market was mainly supported by individual investors' continued cyclical purchases of low-priced shares, brokers said.

''Today's rise boils down to the fact that small- and mid-capitalization stocks were still strong,'' said Nagayuki Yamagishi, senior strategist at UFJ Tsubasa Securities Co., noting that the rise in the benchmark Nikkei index was small compared with the number of gainers in the day.

Winners beat losers to 1,183 to 329, with 89 shares closing unchanged.

Trading was heavy, with 1,880.52 million shares changing hands on the TSE's main section, up from Tuesday's 1,741.14 million shares.

After the Nikkei gained about 40 points, buying momentum fizzled as institutional investors were cautious in making large bets due to key events overseas, including the U.S. Federal Reserve's two-day policy-setting meeting, which began Tuesday, and U.S. President George W. Bush's State of the Union speech later in the day, brokers said.

Market players are concerned about the course of the currency market, and its possible effect on the equity market, as those events come at a time when the U.S. dollar has seen sharp declines against the yen and euro.

Among notable winners were the steel, marine transport, glass and ceramics, wholesale and automaker sectors.

Mining and metal sectors were the only decliners.

Mizuho Financial Group was the most heavily traded issue by value, down 1,000 yen to 500,000 yen.

Yahoo Japan, which followed Mizuho in the category, surged after U.S. Internet search giant Google Inc. said Tuesday its fourth-quarter profit rose sevenfold. It rose 14,000 yen to 541,000 yen.

Mitsubishi Motors was the volume leader, up 6 yen to 137 yen.

The TSE's Second Section index rose 32.55 points, or 1.00 percent, to 3,300.64 on a volume of 91.54 million shares. In Osaka, the near-term March Nikkei 225 index futures contract was up 60 points to 11,420.

In New York on Tuesday, the Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 62.00 points, or 0.59 percent, to 10,551.94. The tech-heavy Nasdaq Composite Index gained 6.29 points, or 0.30 percent, to 2,068.70.
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Publication:Japan Weekly Monitor
Geographic Code:9JAPA
Date:Feb 7, 2005
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