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Tokyo Stocks Rebound in Morning after Fukuda's Resignation

Tokyo, Sept 2, 2008 (Jiji Press) - Stocks rebounded on the Tokyo Stock Exchange Tuesday morning, as the weakness of the yen and expectations of a solid Wall Street opening later in the day helped investors take in stride Prime Minister Yasuo Fukuda's sudden announcement of resignation Monday.

At the morning close, the 225-issue Nikkei average stood up 63.11 points from Monday at 12,897.29. On Monday, the Nikkei lost 238.69 points.

The TOPIX index of all first-section issues stood up 8.10 points at 1,238.74, after falling 24.07 points in the previous session.

"The market's initial reaction to Fukuda's resignation so far been subdued," said Nagayuki Yamagishi, equity strategist at Mitsubishi UFJ Securities Co. "After all, Japan has long been in political turmoil (due to a prolonged parliamentary deadlock), and his resignation won't change the situation for the better or for the worse."

Brokers said investors rather focused on the yen's mild depreciation and gains in U.S. stock index futures on the GLOBEX 24-hour trading system, which raised hopes for solid U.S. market performance later in the day after a three-day weekend.

Yutaka Miura, equity manager at Shinko Securities Co., said Fukuda's resignation has reinforced the market's wait-and-see mood.

"Investors' focus has shifted to who will replace Fukuda and what economic policy the successor would take," Miura said. "Investors feel it too risky to fix their investment stance before the new prime minister is picked and the leader's economic policy is unveiled."

Miura said that the near-term course of the Tokyo market will be most affected by the development of the U.S. stock market.

Pointing out that the recent batch of U.S. economic indicators other than housing-related data have come out unexpectedly solid, Miura said the U.S. market may stay on a firm note this week unless upcoming key economic reports, such the Institute for Supply Management's manufacturing and nonmanufacturing indexes for August, prove disappointing.

Meanwhile, some brokers said foreign investors may be concerned that the next administration may backtrack on Japan's fiscal reform drive, especially as Taro Aso, secretary-general of the ruling Liberal Democratic Party, is considered prime candidate to replace Fukuda.

Aso has insisted that the government postpone its goal of returning the primary budget balance to the black by fiscal 2011.

Winners eclipsed losers 811 to 710 on the TSE's first section in the morning, while 162 issues were flat.

Half-day volume came to 717 million shares.

Speculation that Aso, known as an aficionado of manga comics, will be the next prime minister buoyed anime-related shares, including Mandarake, a manga bookstore chain listed on the TSE's Mother market, and Toei Animation, listed on the Jasdaq Securities Exchange.

A wide range of technology heavyweights, including Advantest, Sharp and Matsushita Electric Industrial, advanced.

Banking groups Mitsubishi UFJ, Mizuho and Sumitomo Mitsui drew buying.

Trading houses Mitsubishi, Mitsui and Sumitomo sagged.

Drug makers Shionogi, Astellas and Eisai fell.

By Jiji Press, (c) Jiji Press

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