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Nikkei ends higher as dollar gain outweighs N.Korea pain
September 15, 2017 / 7:22 AM / 11 days ago

Nikkei ends higher as dollar gain outweighs N.Korea pain

* Nikkei up 3.3 pct on week, its biggest gain in 10 months

* Broader market turnover up 26 pct on FTSE index rebalancing

* N.Korea missile launch not entirely unexpected - analyst

By Shinichi Saoshiro and Ayai Tomisawa

TOKYO, Sept 15 (Reuters) - Japan’s Nikkei share average ended higher on Friday and posted its biggest weekly gain in ten months as a stronger dollar saw investors buying shares of exporters, shrugging off North Korea’s ballistic missile launch that dented risk appetite in broader Asia.

Prior to the Tokyo financial markets’ open on Friday, North Korea yet again fired a missile that flew over Japan’s northern island of Hokkaido far out into the Pacific Ocean, South Korean and Japanese officials said.

The Nikkei initially dipped in a knee-jerk reaction at the opening, but soon rebounded and stayed in positive territory before ending 0.5 percent higher at 19,909.50.

The index rose 3.3 percent for the week, its biggest weekly gain since November last year.

The broader Topix advanced 0.4 percent to 1,638.94 after setting a two-year high of 1,642.56 on Thursday. Turnover rose 26 percent to a 1-1/2-month high of 2.9 trillion yen on rebalancing of the FTSE All-World index.

On Thursday, the Nikkei had risen to 19,918.39, its highest level since Aug. 9, bouncing back from a four-month low of 19,239.52 hit a week ago on North Korea and Hurricane Irma concerns.

Pyongyang’s missile launch on Friday did worry investors, but did not trigger the kind of risk aversion seen last week.

“The Nikkei is holding up as currencies have reacted relatively calmly to the missile launch, with dollar/yen back above the 110-yen threshold,” said Masahiro Ichikawa, senior strategist at Sumitomo Mitsui Asset Management.

“Also, the missile launch did not catch the market entirely off guard, as North Korea was expected to react after the latest U.N. Security Council sanctions.”

The dollar fell to as low as 109.550 yen after the missile launch but last stood at 110.50.

Most exporters gained, with Tokyo Electron rising 2.6 percent, Hitachi Ltd adding 1.3 percent and Honda Motor Co firming up 0.9 percent.

Astellas Pharma Inc advanced 3.6 percent after the company and Pfizer Inc said on Thursday their blockbuster prostate cancer drug met the main goal of a key study that tested it for treating the disease in its early stages.

Shares related to bitcoin fell after the cryptocurrency remained volatile after it was reported that China plans to close all bitcoin exchanges by the end of September.

Financial information service provider Fisco Ltd, which operates a cryptocurrency exchange, fell 1.9 percent. Caica Inc, a systems company involved in blockchain technology research, dropped 1.5 percent. (Reporting by Shinichi Saoshiro and Ayai Tomisawa; Editing by Vyas Mohan)

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