* Nikkei trades above expected future settlement price
* Financials outperform on higher U.S. yields
By Ayai Tomisawa
TOKYO, March 10 Japan's Nikkei share average
rose to a one-week high on Friday morning as exporters benefited
from the dollar hitting six-week highs against the yen, while
investors awaited U.S. jobs data later in the day to provide
further evidence that U.S. interest rates are likey to rise.
The Nikkei added 1.3 percent to 19,575.34 at the
midday break after hitting as high as 19,582.75, the highest
level since March 3. For the week, the benchmark index has risen
1.3 percent so far.
"The dollar trading above the 115 yen-mark is lifting
investors' risk appetites. Expectations for constant U.S.
interest rate hikes have triggered a turnaround in Japanese
stocks," said Norihiro Fujito, a senior investment strategist at
Mitsubishi UFJ Morgan Stanley Securities. "The Nikkei being
above its settlement price is a sign that investors are likely
to chase the market higher."
Nikkei futures and options contracts
expiring in March were forecast to settle at 19,434.30, market
participants said on Friday, citing estimates by brokerages.
The dollar was up 0.3 percent at 115.24 yen, firming
to its highest levels since Jan. 27, lifting exporter shares.
Toyota Motor Corp gained 1.1 percent, Panasonic Corp
added 1.3 percent and Tokyo Electron Ltd
surged 2.0 percent.
Financial stocks also staged a rally, with Dai-ichi Life
Holdings rising 2.4 percent, MS&AD Insurance
jumping 2.4 percent and Sumitomo Mitsui Financial Group
up 1.2 percent after U.S. yields rose.
The benchmark 10-year Treasury yield was up 4
basis points at 2.594 percent after touching 2.607 percent,
which was the highest since Dec. 16 according to Reuters data.
The broader Topix was up 1.1 percent to 1,571.68 and
the JPX-Nikkei Index 400 advanced 1.1 percent to
(Editing by Simon Cameron-Moore)