* Exporters, banks outperform
* Sharp jumps on LCD JV investment in China
By Ayai Tomisawa
TOKYO, Jan 4 Japan's Nikkei share average
started the first trading day of 2017 on a positive note as
investors took heart from upbeat global economic data which came
out during Japan's holidays. A weaker yen boosted exporters.
The Nikkei surged 2 percent to 19,489.86 in
midmorning trade. The benchmark index had dropped 0.2 percent to
19,114.37 on the last trading day of last year, its lowest
closing level since Dec. 9.
While Japanese markets were closed for New Year holidays,
the dollar surged and U.S. stocks took confidence from strong
U.S. factory activity which accelerated to a two-year high on a
surge in new orders.
The dollar powered to a near three-week peak of 118.605 yen
overnight before coming down 0.2 percent to 118.06 in
"The foreign exchange rate and expectations for U.S.
economic growth are serving as a tailwind for Japanese
equities," said Hikaru Sato, a senior technical analyst at Daiwa
Sato added that Japanese stocks will likely be supported by
hopes that a weaker yen will lift exporters' earnings until this
fiscal year ending March, with the Nikkei's upside seen around
Additional gains later in the year would depend on whether
U.S. president-elect Donald Trump's campaign-trail promises are
will realised or not, he said.
All of 33 Topix's subsectors were in positive territory,
with exporters and banking stocks outperforming.
Toyota Motor Corp surged 2.8 percent, Honda Motor
Co jumped 4.2 percent and Panasonic Corp
soared 2.5 percent.
Mitsubishi UFJ Financial Group gained 4.0 percent
and Mizuho Financial Group rose 2.9 percent.
Meanwhile, Sharp Corp jumped more than 10 percent
after Sakai Display, an LCD panel joint venture between Sharp
and Hon Hai Precision Industry said that it will build
a 61 billion yuan ($8.8 billion) factory in China to produce
liquid-crystal displays (LCDs).
The broader Topix rose 2.1 percent to 1,550.97 and
the JPX-Nikkei Index 400 added 2.2 percent to
(Reporting by Ayai Tomisawa; Editing by Eric Meijer)