February 19, 2018 / 6:28 AM / 3 months ago

Nikkei ends up 2 pct as exporters and big companies gain

TOKYO, Feb 19 (Reuters) - Japan’s Nikkei share average finished 2 percent high on Monday, as exporters gained following a pullback in the yen, while market heavyweights such as Fanuc and Fast Retailing helped boost the benchmark index.

The Nikkei advanced to 22,149.21 points, its highest close since Feb. 5.

The broader Topix rose 2.2 percent to 1,775.15, but volume was thin, with only 1.29 billion shares changing hands, the lowest since late December due to market holidays in the United States and Greater China. Turnover also dropped 14 percent to the lowest since late December to 2.3 trillion yen.

The dollar was little changed at 106.330 yen after sliding on Friday to 105.545, its lowest since November 2016. Recent gains in the yen has put a dampener on exporter stocks, with investors concerned a sustained uptick in the Japanese currency could hurt profits.

Industrial robot maker Fanuc Corp gained 3.7 percent and clothing chain Fast Retailing advanced 2.5 percent, contributing a combined 77 points to the Nikkei.

Automakers rose, with Toyota Motor up 2.4 percent and Subaru Corp advancing 2.3 percent.

Buying was also seen in the banking sector, with Mitsubishi UFJ Financial Group and Mizuho Financial Group both adding 2.2 percent.

Reporting by Ayai Tomisawa; Editing by Jacqueline Wong

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