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Tokyo stocks rise slightly in morning on continued earnings optimism

This file photo shows the Tokyo Stock Exchange. (Mainichi)

TOKYO (Kyodo) -- Tokyo stocks rose Wednesday morning on hope for positive earnings results from major domestic companies, but gains were limited as market participants awaited the outcome of a U.S. Federal Reserve policy meeting later in the day.

    The 225-issue Nikkei Stock Average advanced 49.88 points, or 0.17 percent, from Tuesday to 28,596.06. The broader Topix index of all First Section issues on the Tokyo Stock Exchange was up 5.54 points, or 0.30 percent, at 1,853.54.

    Gainers were led by real estate, pulp and paper, and electric appliance issues.

    The U.S. dollar moved narrowly in the upper 103 yen range, fetching 103.71-75 yen at noon, compared with 103.57-67 yen in New York and 103.80-82 yen in Tokyo at 5 p.m. Tuesday.

    The euro was quoted at $1.2158-2158 and 126.10-14 yen against $1.2155-2165 and 125.98-126.08 yen in New York and $1.2112-2113 and 125.73-77 yen in Tokyo late Tuesday afternoon.

    Shares were higher from the outset, with the Nikkei briefly rising over 200 points, before the gains were gradually pared toward the end of the morning session.

    "The market was helped by earnings optimism that business activity will return to normal in the next fiscal year (from April) compared to the current year," said Masahiro Ichikawa, chief market strategist at Sumitomo Mitsui DS Asset Management Co.

    An International Monetary Fund upgrade of growth estimates for Japan and the global economy also improved investor sentiment, brokers said.

    Once buying ran out of steam, the Nikkei turned top-heavy and at one point fell into negative territory.

    Market players are cautiously watching whether the Fed will dial back or continue with a quantitative easing program that has supported the stock market, Ichikawa said.

    On the First Section, advancing issues outnumbered decliners 1,170 to 898, while 119 ended the morning unchanged.

    Material manufacturer Nitto Denko soared 670 yen, or 7.2 percent, to 10,030 yen after the company, in its earnings report released the previous day, upgraded its operating and net profit outlook for the business year through March.

    Real estate company Hulic advanced 13 yen, or 1.2 percent, to 1,143 yen after a news report that the company saw a 15 percent year-on-year rise in group operating profit for the year through December.

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