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Birth rate rise helps Tokyo markets

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by Elaine Frei

Gains in domestic stocks sent the Nikkei 225 to its highest closing level in three months on Tuesday after new data showed that Japan’s birth rate, which has been dropping, has begun to rise again. The Nikkei 225 added 1.3 percent to 16,181.17, while the Topix index was 1.1 percent higher to 1,641.77.

The birth rate news helped manufacturers and sellers of baby goods. Baby goods and clothing retailer Nishimatsuya added 3.6 percent to ¥2,180, while Wakodo, which makes baby food, gained 5.5 percent to ¥4,960. With the number of weddings also growing, wedding ceremonies planner Take and Give Needs was 3.3 percent higher.

Real estate and securities were also higher on the day, as higher birth rates indicate stronger demand to come. Mitsui Fudosan gained 2.6 percent to ¥2,585 as the real estate sector as a whole was 2.1 percent higher. The securities sector was up by 2.8 percent, as Nomura added 3 percent to ¥2,265 and Daiwa was up 3.2 percent to ¥1,436.

The oil sector also saw gains after Monday’s rise in crude oil prices. Oil and gas exploration group Inpex Holdings was 1.9 percent higher to ¥1,060,000, while oil distributor Nippon Oil added 2.8 percent to ¥945.

Exporters also saw gains on the day, with carmaker Toyota adding 1.1 percent to ¥6,440 and camera manufacturer Olympus gaining 4.4 percent to ¥3,340.

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News posted: August 22, 2006

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