March 1, 2019 / 3:38 AM / 9 months ago

Nikkei boosted by futures buying, poised for 3rd weekly gains

* Nikkei has gained 0.7 pct

* Subaru underperforms on recall announcement

By Ayai Tomisawa

TOKYO, March 1 (Reuters) - Tokyo’s Nikkei share average pulled ahead on futures buying after the dollar rose against the yen on the back of stronger-than-expected U.S. gross domestic product data, giving Japanese exporters a boost.

The Nikkei rose 0.9 percent to 21,574.51 at the midday break. For the week, the benchmark index has gained 0.7 percent and was poised for its third straight weekly gains.

Exporters took advantage of a weaker yen after the dollar rose 0.3 percent to 111.67 yen, the highest level since Dec. 20.

“Short-term investors are seen buying back futures while they pick up cheap cyclical shares as the yen is weaker,” said Naoki Fujiwara, a fund manager at Shinkin Asset Management.

TDK Corp rallied 4.1 percent, Advantest Corp jumped 3.9 percent and Fanuc Corp gained 2 percent.

In the United States, a major market for Japan, gross domestic product increased at a 2.6 percent annualized rate in the fourth quarter after advancing at a 3.4 percent pace in the July-September period, stronger than a 2.3 percent rate forecast by Reuters economists.

Analysts said the market will remain cautious as they watch out for developments in U.S.-China trade negotiations. U.S. President Donald Trump on Thursday warned that he could walk away from a trade deal with China if it wasn’t good enough.

The collapse on Thursday of the summit between Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un on denuclearization had also soured market sentiment, though the impact on trading during Friday was negligible.

Losers included Subaru Corp, which underperformed and fell 0.5 percent after the company announced a recall of 2.26 million vehicles around the world over a brake lamp defect.

The broader Topix rose 0.4 percent to 1,613.87. Advancing issues outnumbered declining ones 1,216 to 803. (Editing by Shri Navaratnam)

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