July 17, 2018 / 6:57 AM / 3 months ago

Nikkei rises to 1-month high on weak yen; machinery stocks fall on China concerns

* Nintendo soars after Colopl said it will release game for Switch

* Weak yen lifts exporters, including carmakers

* Machinery stocks tumble on concerns about China's economy

By Ayai Tomisawa

TOKYO, July 17 (Reuters) - Japan's Nikkei share average rose to a one-month high on Tuesday as a weak yen lifted exporters, offsetting weakness in machinery stocks after data showed China's growth momentum is cooling.

Japanese markets reopened after a three-day weekend due to a national holiday on Monday, with the Nikkei ending 0.4 percent higher to 22,697.36, the highest closing level since June 15.

The broader Topix advanced 0.9 percent to 1,745.05.

The dollar strengthened 0.1 percent against the yen to 112.4 yen, ticking up towards a six-month high of 112.80 yen on July 13.

The weaker yen boosted automaker shares. Toyota Motor Corp advanced 1.3 percent and Nissan Motor Co added 0.8 percent.

Some defensive stocks such as railway shares and food companies also attracted buyers, with East Japan Railway Co rising 2.1 percent and Ajinomoto Co advancing 1.9 percent.

But concern about the strength of China's economy put machinery makers under pressure. China reported on Monday that its economic growth slowed in the second quarter and that factory output growth in June weakened to a two-year low, a worrying sign for investment and exporters as a trade war with the United States intensifies.

Yaskawa Electric tumbled 7.3 percent and Okuma Corp and Fanuc both fell 4.1 percent.

"The Nikkei may hit the 23,000-mark (soon) as the weak yen is lifting the mood, but the market is not supported by strong energy, it's just momentum," said Hikaru Sato, a senior technical analyst at Daiwa Securities, adding investors are cautious about the risk of a slowdown in demand from China in the mid-to-long term.

Nintendo Co gained 2.5 percent after mobile developer Colopl Inc said it will release its 'Shoironeko Project' game for Nintendo Switch from 2020.

Colopl rose 2.6 percent, after jumping as much as 11 percent.

Nintendo said in January that it filed a lawsuit against Colopl last December regarding infringements of patents.

The lawsuit, which is asking for 4.4 billion yen in damages from Colopl, claims among other things that the game 'Shironeko Project" infringes upon Nintendo's patents in terms of the game's touchscreen controls.

"Colopl's announcement triggered speculation that the two companies will settle the ongoing lawsuit," said Makoto Kikuchi, chief executive of Myojo Asset Management. (Reporting by Ayai Tomisawa; Editing by Kim Coghill)

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