September 20, 2019 / 6:15 AM / a month ago

Japanese shares post third weekly gain on monetary easing optimism

TOKYO, Sept 20 (Reuters) - Japanese stocks ended higher on Friday and posted their third straight week of gains as consumer-related shares rose on speculation the Bank of Japan will follow other central banks and ease policy next month.

The Nikkei 225 index rose 0.16% to 22,079.09. Nikkei shares rose 0.4% this week.

There were 122 advancers on the Nikkei index against 97 decliners.

The BOJ kept policy steady on Thursday but signalled its readiness to expand stimulus as early as next month by issuing a stronger warning of overseas risks threatening the export-reliant economy.

"Japanese stocks have risen a lot recently, so I expect an adjustment lower next week, but that would be a chance to buy the dip," said Kiyoshi Ishigane, chief fund manager at Mitsubishi UFJ Kokusai Asset Management Co in Tokyo.

"Shares will be supported by expectations for more monetary easing, expectations for fiscal spending in other countries and optimism about the trade war. The BOJ wants to ease, but it's just having trouble reaching consensus on what to do."

The largest percentage gainers in the index were Rakuten Inc up 3.94%, followed by Suzuki Motor Corp gaining 3.72%, and DeNA Co Ltd up by 2.80%.

Shares of Hub Co Ltd an operator of a popular chain of English-style pubs, rose to the highest since February 2018 and then pared gains slightly to close 7.00% higher.

Japan is hosting the Rugby World Cup, and the opening match is scheduled for later on Friday. Investors are betting the tournament will boost the pub operator's sales.

The largest percentage losses in the index were Yamato Holdings Co Ltd down 8.37%, followed by Nippon Express Co Ltd losing 2.94%, and Japan Steel Works Ltd down by 2.16%.

The broader Topix ended up 0.04% at 1,616.23.

The volume of shares traded on the Tokyo Stock Exchange's main board was 1.46 billion, above the average of 1.15 billion yen in the past 30 days. (Editing by Jacqueline Wong)

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