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TOKYO: Japan’s Nikkei share average rose on Monday, buoyed by a weaker yen and gains on Wall Street at the end of last week.

The Nikkei added 0.55% to 36,358.21 as of the midday break, with 168 of its 225 components rising, compared with 55 decliners and two that were flat.

The broader Topix gained 0.76%.

Automakers were among the main beneficiaries of the yen’s slide against the dollar since Friday when an unexpectedly strong jobs report knocked back expectations for an early Federal Reserve interest rate cut.

A weaker currency boosts the value of overseas revenue and makes products more competitive.

Toyota Motor rose 1.46%, Nissan jumped 3.45% and Honda rallied 3.33%. Mazda Motor, which is particularly reliant on US sales, soared 4.61%.

The dollar surged as high as 148.82 yen on Monday for the first time since late November, pulled by a jump in US long-term Treasury yields to the cusp of 4.1% by Monday’s Asian trading.

Despite the jump in yields, all three of Wall Street’s main indexes rose to fresh closing highs on Friday.

Japan’s Nikkei set for best January since 1998 despite chip drag

“The rally on Wall Street despite long-term US yields rising above 4% has given Japanese stock investors a sense of confidence,” said Maki Sawada, an equity strategist at Nomura Securities, who predicts the Nikkei will trade between 36,000 and 36,500 this week.

“Hopes for Japanese stocks, from earnings to corporate governance reforms to the end of deflation, means investors are very conscious of a firm floor for the market,” she added.

The earnings season moved into high gear at the end of last week and will peak in mid-February.

Financial results produced some outsized winners and losers on Monday, with Panasonic Holdings jumping more than 5% after posting a rise in profit.

At the other end, Sumitomo Chemical slumped more than 8% to be the Nikkei’s biggest percentage decliner after it cut its earnings forecast.

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