April 2, 2019 / 2:33 AM / 5 months ago

Nikkei rises to 1-month high supported by financials

* Banks, insurers, exporters rise

* Defensive utility, railroad stocks fall

* Zojirushi sold on weak 1Q results

By Ayai Tomisawa

TOKYO, April 2 (Reuters) - Japan's Nikkei rose to a one-month high on Tuesday morning as upbeat factory data from the United States boosted risk appetite, while financial stocks rose after U.S. yields gained.

The Nikkei share average rose 0.3 percent to 21,575.71 in midmorning trade, after opening at a one-month high of 21,744.64.

U.S. retail sales unexpectedly fell in February, but a rebound in factory activity in March and a strong increase in construction spending offered hope the economy was not slowing as sharply as previously feared.

"The data are mixed, but the market is looking at the brighter side as sentiment is already positive with China's strong data the day before," said Yutaka Miura, a senior technical analyst at Mizuho Securities.

But with the Nikkei moving closer to the next resistance level of 21,860, hit on March 5, the market is vulnerable to profit-taking, he added.

The yield on U.S. benchmark 10-year Treasury notes rose nearly 9 basis points for its biggest single-day jump since Jan. 4.

Among banks and insurers, Mitsubishi UFJ Financial Group gained 1.8 percent, Sumitomo Mitsui Financial Group advanced 1.4 percent, while Dai-ichi Life Holdings surged 2.6 percent.

Other cyclical stocks were also in demand. Shipper Mitsui OSK Lines added 1.3 percent, industrial robot maker Fanuc Corp jumped 3.7 percent and Yaskawa Electric gained 2.9 percent.

Defensive stocks lost ground. Tokyo Electric Power Co tumbled 3.5 percent, realtor Mitsui Fudosan shed 1.8 percent and East Japan Railway Co declined 2 percent.

Elsewhere, cooking appliance maker Zojirushi dropped 2.7 percent after the company posted a 35.6 percent fall in its operating profit to 3.069 billion yen for the first quarter ended February.

The broader Topix was flat at 1,615.83. (Editing by Simon Cameron-Moore)

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