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Japanese shares rise as Sony, Toyota advance on weaker yen

TOKYO, July 2 (Reuters) - Japanese stocks rose on Friday, as export-focused Sony Group and Toyota Motor got a fillip from a weaker yen that helped offset weakness in chip-related firms.

The Nikkei share average gained 0.32% to 28,798.44 by 0204 GMT, on course to snap four straight sessions of declines, while the broader Topix jumped 0.83% to 1,955.34. Still, the indexes were set for weekly losses.

“The weaker yen is boosting shares in automakers, as well as other manufacturers, such as Sony, as investors expect they might raise their outlook,” said Norihiro Fujito, chief investment strategist at Mitsubishi UFJ Morgan Stanley Securities.

“But their gains are capped by the weak performance of the Nikkei’s heavyweights, such as chip-making equipment manufacturers and Fast Retailing. That explains Topix’s bigger gains.”

Sony Group, an exporter of games, cameras and other electronic home appliances, jumped 3.93% as the yen hit its lowest level since March 2020.

It was also the top gainer among the top 30 core Topix names, followed by Hitachi, which rose 1.4%.

Toyota Motor gained 1.14%, Honda Motor rose 0.79% and Nissan Motor advanced 2.96%, while Mazda Motor surged 6.05%.

The gains in automakers also followed strong quarterly sales numbers from U.S. peers, which pointed to the trend continuing into 2022.

Domestic chip-related shares tracked a weak overnight finish of the Philadelphia SE Semiconductor index, which was dragged down by Micron Technology.

Tokyo Electron lost 2.34% and Advantest dropped 1.93%.

Fast Retailing, known for its Uniqlo clothing brand, fell 0.39% after a report that French prosecutors had opened an investigation into four fashion retailers suspected of concealing crimes against humanity in China’s Xinjiang region.

Seven & i Holdings fell 0.63% and was the worst performer among the Topix 30 names, followed by Shin-Etsu Chemical, which fell 0.16%.

Reporting by Junko Fujita; Editing by Aditya Soni

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