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Nikkei rises as yen strength wanes but still poised for weekly loss
March 24, 2017 / 3:05 AM / 9 months ago

Nikkei rises as yen strength wanes but still poised for weekly loss

* Nikkei on track to shed more than 1 percent for the week

* Abe’s school controversy had weighed on sentiment this week

* Toshiba jumps as filing shows Effissimo is largest shareholder

TOKYO, March 24 (Reuters) - Japan’s Nikkei share average gained on Friday as the yen took a breather from its recent strength, but the Nikkei was still poised for a weekly loss.

The Nikkei was up 1 percent at 19,275.18 at the end of morning trade, shrugging off early weakness and moving decisively away from the previous session’s 1-1/2-month lows. It was still on track to shed 1.3 percent for the week.

The dollar rose 0.4 percent to 111.39 yen, moving away from the previous session’s four-month lows, as signs a delayed vote on President Donald Trump’s healthcare bill would go ahead later in the day.

It was unclear whether the bill would pass, after Trump failed on Thursday to reach a deal with Republican lawmakers.

“The day started out with dollar and stock weakness, but after news that there would be a vote later today after all, tail risk was seen as diminishing,” said Norihiro Fujito, a senior investment strategist at Mitsubishi UFJ Morgan Stanley Securities.

The market came under pressure this week from a political scandal involving Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s wife, undermining support for the Japanese premier. Abe repeated denials on Friday that he or his wife had made donations to the head of a Japanese nationalist school at the heart of a controversy.

Shares in Toshiba Corp rose 8.2 percent after Singapore-based fund Effissimo Capital Management, established by former colleagues of Japan’s most famous activist investor, became its largest shareholder, according to a regulatory filing.

Banking shares rose, buoyed by the broader market upturn, with the Tokyo Stock Exchange’s bank subindex adding 2 percent.

The broader Topix percent added 1 percent to 1,545.73, while the JPX-Nikkei Index 400 also rose 1 percent to 13,822.67.

Reporting by Tokyo markets team; Editing by Simon Cameron-Moore

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