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Tokyo stocks extend gains as yen's retreat prompts buying on dips

TOKYO (Kyodo) -- Tokyo stocks extended their winning streak on Tuesday to four straight trading days, recouping earlier losses as investors bought on dips following the yen's retreat against the U.S. dollar.

    The 225-issue Nikkei Stock Average ended up 144.07 points, or 0.66 percent, from Monday at 21,968.10. The broader Topix index of all First Section issues on the Tokyo Stock Exchange finished 9.73 points, or 0.56 percent, higher at 1,751.03.

    Gainers were led by electric power and gas, precision instrument and electric appliance issues.

    Stocks fell in the morning amid lingering concern over trade friction following the United States' plan to impose tariffs on steel and aluminum imports.

    Political uncertainty in Japan amid cronyism allegations leveled at Prime Minister Shinzo Abe led to buying of the yen as a safe-haven asset, in turn weighing on stocks, brokers said.

    But shares recouped earlier losses in the afternoon, led by technology issues, as the yen halted its appreciation against the U.S. dollar. The Nikkei gained more than 3 percent during the four days through Tuesday.

    "The market's downside was solid," said Kazuhiro Takahashi, senior strategist at Daiwa Securities Co., who added that as long as domestic political uncertainty does not lead to accelerated yen-buying, its impact on the stock market would be limited considering solid corporate earnings.

    "We expect that it would not take too long for the Nikkei to recover to the 22,000 level," Takahashi said.

    Trading volume was thin on the main section, falling to 1,221.52 million shares from Monday's 1,253.60 million shares.

    Investors were awaiting U.S. consumer price data for February, due out later in the day, to gauge the country's inflation trend, brokers said.

    On the First Section, advancing issues outnumbered declining ones 1,579 to 419, with 71 ending the day unchanged.

    Among technology issues, semiconductor component maker Screen Holdings rose 360 yen, or 3.5 percent, to 10,660 yen, while silicon wafer maker Sumco advanced 125 yen, or 4.1 percent, to 3,175 yen.

    Stocks sensitive to domestic demand were also notably bought following earlier slides. Kansai Electric Power gained 47.50 yen, or 3.8 percent, to 1,290.00 yen, while Chubu Electric Power climbed 40.50 yen, or 2.8 percent, to 1,469.00 yen.

    A weaker yen helped major exporters, with Toyota Motor up 11 yen, or 0.2 percent, at 6,969 yen and Panasonic, up 12.50 yen, or 0.7 percent, at 1,692.00 yen.


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