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Tokyo stocks rise in morning, Nikkei briefly tops 10,500.

TOKYO, Dec. 2 Kyodo

Tokyo stocks rose Tuesday morning as investors, encouraged by overnight surges in U.S. stocks, bought select export-oriented shares, briefly pushing the key Nikkei index above the 10,500 line for the first time in three weeks.

The 225-issue Nikkei Stock Average rose 36.46 points, or 0.35%, to end the morning at 10,439.73. The broader Tokyo Stock Price Index (TOPIX) of all First Section issues on the Tokyo Stock Exchange (TSE) added 3.29 points, or 0.32%, to 1,023.81.

The Nikkei index rose to 10,552.35 at one point. It last surpassed the 10,500 line on an intraday basis Nov. 10.

But buying lost steam as investors took profits from gains Monday, when the Nikkei index rose more than 300 points, the third-largest single-day point rise this year.

''Rises in U.S. stocks and the release of upbeat U.S. economic indexes led to the rise'' in Tokyo stocks, said Nagayuki Yamagishi, senior strategist at UFJ Tsubasa Securities Co. ''But investors began to lock in their gains, especially seeing the Nikkei rise above the 10,500 line.''

U.S. stocks jumped to close at 18-month highs Monday as investors welcomed upbeat reports on manufacturing activity and construction spending in the United States.

The benchmark Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 116.59 points, or 1.19%, to 9,899.05. The tech-heavy Nasdaq Composite Index gained 29.56 points, or 1.51%, to 1,989.82.

Insurance, nonferrous metal and airline issues were among the notable gainers. Land transport, marine transport and pharmaceutical shares were the main decliners.

Japan's four mega banks drew mixed responses in the morning.

Mizuho Financial Group was the most heavily traded issue in the morning, unchanged at 294,000 yen.

UFJ Holdings and Sumitomo Mitsui Financial Group drew buying, but Mitsubishi Tokyo Financial Group met selling.

Shares of Ashikaga Financial Group, the holding firm of Ashikaga Bank, were ask-only at 21 yen in the morning after plunging by the daily allowable limit of 30 yen following the government's nationalization of the insolvent regional bank.

The morning volume leader was Nippon Steel, unchanged at 214 yen.

Fuji Photo Film added 50 yen to 3,240 yen as investors welcomed a news report that the company plans to spend 110 billion yen between fiscal 2004 and fiscal 2008 to expand its production of film for liquid crystal display televisions and other electronic devices.

Sony fell 110 yen to 3,690 yen as investor sentiment cooled after the company said Monday it will issue up to 250 billion yen worth of five-year Euroyen zero-coupon convertible bonds Dec. 18 to raise funds for capital investment.

Bridgestone rose 27 yen to 1,445 yen with investors encouraged by a news report saying the company has plans to enter the semiconductor wafer market.

Volume on the TSE's main section rose to 514.28 million shares from Monday morning's 425.94 million.

Advancing issues surpassed decliners 920 to 461, with 145 issues finishing the morning unchanged.

The TSE's Second Section index added 12.98 points, or 0.62%, to 2,097.50 on a volume of 11.63 million shares. In Osaka, the near-term December Nikkei 225 index futures contract gained 50 points to 10,440.
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Publication:Japan Weekly Monitor
Date:Dec 1, 2003
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