Nikkei rises as weak yen offers trade fear respite; SoftBank soars
* SoftBank adds hefty positive points to Nikkei
* Lawson falls to 5-1/2-year low after Q1 earnings
* Eisai soars to hover record high hit early this week
By Ayai Tomisawa
TOKYO, July 12 (Reuters) - Japan's Nikkei share average rose
on Thursday as a weaker yen offered a temporary respite to trade
war fears and lifted sentiment, while index-heavyweight SoftBank
soared after a source said a U.S. hedge fund took a $1 billion
stake in it.
The Nikkei was up 1.1 percent at 22,182.82 points by
SoftBank Group, the most traded stock by turnover,
jumped 5.5 percent to a near 6-month high of 9,299 yen, rising
for 10 consecutive sessions after a source told Reuters that
U.S. hedge fund Tiger Global has built a stake worth more than
$1 billion in the company.
The stock contributed a hefty positive 55 points to the
The dollar edged up 0.1 percent and was trading at 112.07
yen, after breaking through the 112-barrier for the first
time since Jan. 10 after U.S. economic data reaffirmed
expectations that the Federal Reserve will hike interest rates
two more times this year.
Although a weaker yen raised investors' risk appetite,
notable gainers were defensive stocks such as pharmaceuticals,
utilities and food companies.
"Companies which have relatively little impact from the
global economic growth tend to attract buyers now as investors
are still very cautious against fears of trade tensions between
the U.S. and China," said Takuya Takahashi, a strategist at
Japanese stocks tumbled on the previous day along with a
slide in global equities after U.S. President Donald Trump's
threat of imposing tariffs on another $200 billion of Chinese
goods deepened the trade row between the world's two largest
Soy sauce maker Kikkoman Corp surged 3.5 percent
and condiment maker Ajinomoto Co added 1.8 percent.
Tokyo Electric Power rose 1.4 percent and Tokyo Gas
advanced 1.6 percent.
Drugmaker Eisai Co jumped 8.6 percent to hover near
its record high hit earlier this week as investors continued to
take heart from last week's announcement from the company and
Biogen Inc that the final analysis of a mid-stage trial
of their Alzheimer's drug showed positive results for patients
who received the highest dose.
Meanwhile, convenience store operator Lawson Inc
underperformed, falling as much as 3.3 percent to hit a 5-1/2
year low of 6,350 yen after the company's operating profit fell
22 percent on the year to 12.68 billion yen for the first
quarter ended May, hit by rising system costs.
The broader Topix gained 0.7 percent to 1,713.12.
(Editing by Kim Coghill)
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