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TOKYO: Japan’s Nikkei share average changed course to trade higher on Thursday as a weaker yen prompted investors to buy Toyota Motor and other exporter stocks.

The Nikkei was up 0.45% to 35,637.01 by the midday close, after opening 0.3% lower.

The broader Topix was up 0.23% at 2,502.13.

“Investors appreciated the weaker yen,” said Shuji Hosoi, senior strategist at Daiwa Securities.

“Today’s gain was led by foreigners who scooped up large stocks.”

Toyota Motor rose 3.64% to become the top gainer on the Nikkei.

The index for automakers jumped 2.96% to become the top performer among the 33 industry sub-indexes on the Tokyo Stock Exchange.

Tyre makers rose 2.81%, with Bridgestone and Toyo Tire gaining 3.15% and 4.35%, respectively.

The dollar held close to a one-month peak versus major peers on Thursday after robust US retail sales data overnight added to building expectations the Federal Reserve will not rush to lower interest rates.

Japan’s Nikkei marks fresh 34-year peak as shippers, banks gain

A softer yen helps exporters as it raises the value of overseas profits in yen terms when firms repatriate them to Japan. Chip-testing equipment maker Advantest rose 2.98% to give the biggest boost to the Nikkei.

Chip-making equipment maker Tokyo Electron rose 1.14%.

Uniqlo-brand owner Fast Retailing rose 0.9%.

However, investors were cautious about sharp gains in the benchmark index, capping a further rise in the current session, strategists said.

The Nikkei rose 8% since the beginning of this year to hit its highest since February 1990 during the previous session. The session ended 0.4% lower.

Video game maker Nexon fell 4.9% to become the worst performer on the Nikkei.

Marketplace site operator Mercari fell 3.44%. Of the 225 Nikkei components, 120 rose and 101 fell, with four trading flat.

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