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Tokyo pharma sector gains on merger talk

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by Elaine Frei

Tokyo equities markets were higher on Thursday in the wake of the decision by the Bank of Japan to leave interest rates at their current level for the time being. The Nikkei was 0.6 percent higher to 17,370.93, while the Topix index added 0.5 percent to 1,715.17. The Mothers market of small and mid-cap stocks gained 4 percent to 1,177.77.

Banks, which had been anticipating a rate hike, only declined slightly in its absence. This was likely due to the fact that by Wednesday it had become clear that a higher interest rate was not to be forthcoming this month. Mizuho Financial dropped 0.2 percent to ¥896,000.

The real estate sector, which figured to be hurt by higher interest rates, added 1.4 percent as a whole. Mitsui Fudosan gained 1.4 percent to ¥3,010, while Sumitomo Realty & Development was 2.4 percent higher to ¥3,920.

The yen was weaker after the bank’s decision helped the machinery sector, which is largely focused on exports, 0.7 percent higher. Construction machinery manufacturer Komatsu added 1.2 percent to ¥2,455.

The pharmaceuticals sector was higher on merger rumors. Tanabe Seiyaku gained 5.4 percent to ¥1,716 after it was learned that it is talking with Mitsubishi Pharma. Mitsubishi is a division of Mitsubishi Chemical, which added 5.6 percent to ¥815. Takeda Pharmaceutical was 1.8 percent higher to ¥8,020.

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News posted: January 18, 2007

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