January 16, 2018 / 6:24 AM / a year ago

Nikkei hits highest level since 1991 as dollar weakening stops

TOKYO, Jan 16 (Reuters) - Japan's Nikkei share average rose to its highest level since late 1991 on Tuesday, as a firmer dollar supported exporter stocks and expectations for strong corporate earnings bolstered investor sentiment.

The Nikkei ended 1 percent higher at 23,951.81 after reaching an intraday peak of 23,962.07, its highest since November 1991. The index had slipped to as low as 23,588.07 on Friday when the dollar took a steep dive versus its Japanese peer.

"The yen's appreciation against the dollar has stopped and this brightened sentiment, along with expectations for robust company quarterly results," said Masahiro Ichikawa, senior strategist at Sumitomo Mitsui Asset Management.

Information technology service provider Obic Co rose as much as 7.9 percent to an 18-year peak after the Nikkei business daily reported that the company's operating profit for the nine months through December likely rose by a fifth.

Exporters were lifted as the dollar on Tuesday bounced back from four-month lows versus the yen.

Toyota Motor Corp added 1.05 percent, Tokyo Electron rose 1.6 percent and Panasonic Corp climbed 0.6 percent.

The broader Topix rose 0.55 percent to 1,894.25.

Out of Tokyo's 33 subindexes, 22 were in positive territory, led by fish and forestry and electrical machinery . Iron and steel and sea transport led the losing sectors. (Reporting by the Tokyo markets team; Editing by Sam Holmes)

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