May 18, 2016 - 11:20 PM EDT
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UPDATE1: Tokyo stocks end mixed on weak yen, Fed rate hike expectations

Tokyo stocks ended mixed after choppy trading Thursday as a weak yen underpinned the market while growing expectations of a June rate hike by the U.S Federal Reserve triggered selling.

The 225-issue Nikkei Stock Average ended up 1.97 points, or 0.01 percent, from Wednesday at 16,646.66. The broader Topix index of all First Section issues on the Tokyo Stock Exchange finished 1.82 points, or 0.14 percent, lower at 1,336.56.

Major gainers included insurance and miscellaneous product issues, while mining as well as oil and coal product issues led decliners.

Tokyo stocks struggled to gain traction throughout the day before ending mixed.

Makoto Sengoku, market analyst at the Tokai Tokyo Research Institute, suggested shares were being underpinned as the yen weakened against the U.S. dollar after the minutes of the Fed's April policy meeting, released overnight, signaled that the central bank could lift rates as early as next month.

The Japanese currency fell to the lower 110 zone versus the dollar from the lower 109 zone.

"While there is still caution that the yen could resume its rise, for now, the yen's depreciation is supporting stocks," Sengoku said.

But Tomoichiro Kubota, senior market analyst at Matsui Securities Co., said the Fed minutes also triggered selling of shares.

"The Fed minutes were more hawkish than expected, suggesting that a June rate hike would be appropriate if the economy continues to strengthen," Kubota said.

On the First Section, advancing issues outnumbered declining ones 1,012 to 809, while 130 ended the day unchanged.

Suzuki Motor climbed 92.50 yen, or 3.5 percent, to 2,705.50 yen on bargain-hunting after dropping sharply the previous day on the automaker's announcement that it had used fuel-economy testing methods that did not conform to Japanese regulations, brokers said.

Dai Nippon Printing gained 16 yen, or 1.5 percent, to 1,119 yen after the printing company said Thursday it will triple output of evaporation masks, a component vital for organic light emitting display panel production.

Used car dealer Nextage jumped 64 yen, or 10.6 percent, to 669 yen after announcing a share buyback plan on Wednesday.

Resource-related issues dropped after crude oil futures prices fell in New York on Wednesday.

Cosmo Energy Holdings shed 85 yen, or 5.6 percent, to 1,443 yen and Mitsubishi dropped 32 yen, or 1.7 percent, to 1,888 yen.

Start Today sagged 380 yen, or 7.4 percent, to 4,730 yen after the operator of popular e-commerce site "Zozotown" said Wednesday it will sell abroad shares held by its president.

Trading volume on the main section fell to 2,018.77 million shares from Wednesday's 2,341.97 million shares.


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Source: News (May 18, 2016 - 11:20 PM EDT)

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