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Nikkei hits 29-year intraday high on Japan's 20% GDP growth

TOKYO (Kyodo) -- Tokyo stocks rose sharply Monday morning, with the Nikkei index hitting its highest intraday level since June 1991, as investor sentiment improved further on more than 20 percent growth in the Japanese economy in the third quarter as it rebounded from the initial impact of the coronavirus pandemic.

    The 225-issue Nikkei Stock Average gained 419.43 points, or 1.65 percent, from Friday to 25,805.30, its highest intraday level since June 4, 1991. The broader Topix index of all First Section issues on the Tokyo Stock Exchange was up 23.76 points, or 1.40 percent, at 1,726.98.

    Gainers were led by marine transportation, air transportation and real estate issues.

    The U.S. dollar inched down to the mid-104 yen range as traders fled to the perceived safety of the yen amid concerns over rising coronavirus cases in the United States and Europe, dealers said.

    At noon, the dollar fetched 104.53-54 yen compared with 104.57-67 yen in New York and 105.06-08 yen in Tokyo at 5 p.m. Friday.

    The euro was quoted at $1.1850-1850 and 123.86-87 yen against $1.1831-1841 and 123.73-83 yen in New York and $1.1815-1816 and 124.13-17 yen in Tokyo late Friday afternoon.

    Shares were higher from the outset, with the Nikkei continuing to reach new intraday highs since the collapse of Japan's asset-inflated bubble economy.

    Despite a retreat on Friday, the benchmark had risen more than 10 percent in the past two weeks on the combination of brisk earnings, progress in the development of a coronavirus vaccine and prospects for economic stimulus in the United States under President-elect Joe Biden.

    The market was given a further boost in the morning after Japanese data showed that the economy grew an annualized real 21.4 percent in the July-September period from the previous quarter, the biggest expansion in 40 years.

    But some brokers said it only signaled a recovery from the initial impact of the pandemic with the help of a travel subsidy program and other government stimulus steps, warning of another GDP contraction on the recent resurgence of infections as winter comes.

    "A mood of restraint is coming back (in society and businesses) and could slow the economic recovery in the October-December period," said Yutaka Miura, senior technical analyst at Mizuho Securities Co.

    On the First Section, advancing issues outnumbered decliners 1,620 to 488, while 68 ended the morning unchanged.

    Rakuten climbed 20 yen, or 1.8 percent, to 1,114 yen after U.S. retail giant Walmart Inc. said it will sell a majority stake in Japanese supermarket chain Seiyu GK to the Japanese e-commerce firm and American investment company KKR & Co.

    Panasonic surged 52.50 yen, or 5.0 percent, to 1,101.00 yen after the Japanese electronics giant announced a management reshuffle Friday in which President and CEO Kazuhiro Tsuga will step down next year after nine years in office.

    Shippers gained amid hopes for recovering demand, broker said. Kawasaki Kisen jumped 95 yen, or 6.4 percent, to 1,570 yen while Mitsui O.S.K. Lines soared 136 yen, or 5.4 percent, to 2,644 yen.

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