Japan Stocks Extend Gains, But Bank Shares Limit The Advance

Japan stocks bounded higher in Friday morning action, with tech exporters mostly firmer as the yen eased lower, but with financials broadly down after some strong gains in the previous session. The Nikkei Stock Average traded 0.4% higher, moving firmly into territory not seen since mid 2000 after breaching its 15-year high the previous session, while the Topix edged up 0.2%. With the dollar back above the 119-yen level, Konica Minolta Inc. rose 1.4%, TDK Corp. added 1.8%, and Fanuc Corp. improved by 1.1%. Shares of Japan Display Inc. surged 10.9% as a report in the Nikkan Kogyo said the company was planning a new facility in Japan to make screen panels for Apple Inc. , according to Reuters. Among other movers, shares of Astellas Pharma Inc. rose 0.6% after the company announced results from a study showing one of its drugs was beneficial for liver-transplant patients. Meanwhile, the ever-volatile shares of bankrupt budget carrier Skymark Airlines Inc. jumped 33% as the Nikkei reported a group of backers had offered financial support to the airline, with the consortium including Orix Corp. (its shares up 1.1%), Daiwa Securities Group Inc. (flat) and Shinsei Bank Ltd. (down 0.4%). The biggest banks were broadly weaker, however, with Mitsubishi UFJ Financial Group Inc. down 1.1% and Mizuho Financial Group Inc. off 0.9% after both names rallied 3.6% apiece the previous day. Likewise, Sumitomo Mitsui Financial Group Inc. slipped 0.5%, Resona Holdings Inc. lost 1%, and Bank of Yokohama Ltd. retreated 0.4%.

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