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Banks gain in Tokyo

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by Elaine Frei

Technology stocks and the banking sector were instrumental in a turnaround that saw the Tokyo equities markets gain on Thursday despite a slow start to the session. The Nikkei 225 added 0.7 percent to 15,834.23, while the Topix was 0.6 percent higher to 1,580.08.

Semiconductors-related stocks were up on the day. Advantest gained 2.3 percent to ¥12,010, while Shin-Etsu Chemical, the world’s largest manufacturer of silicon wafers was 3.3 percent higher to ¥7,430 on a reiteration of a “buy” rating from UBS, which also raised Shin-Etsu’s target share price from ¥8,000 to ¥8,300.

Other export-related stocks also gained, but not as vigorously. While automobile manufacturer Toyota gained 1.8 percent to ¥6,340 on an upgraded net profits outlook, entertainment and consumer electronics maker Sony added 0.6 percent to ¥4,860.

Banks were 0.9 percent higher as a sector. Mitsubishi UFJ was 0.7 percent higher to ¥1,460,000, while Mizuho gained 1.1 percent to ¥899,000 and SMFG added 1.7 percent to ¥1,170,000.

The consumer finance sector, however, saw further declines, as concerns persisted over attempts by the government to limit the amount of interest these non-bank lenders can charge for their loans. Acom was 3.5 percent lower on the session to ¥4,690, while Aiful dropped 5.5 percent to ¥4,330.

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News posted: September 21, 2006

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