Asia Stocks live blog: China’s factories bounce back – MarketWatch (blog)

Japanese stocks are starting the week on yet another high note, with the Nikkei Average opening 0.5% higher, as a weaker yen and some company-specific news help send the index to its highest level since late January. The broader Topix, meanwhile, is up 0.3%, as the blue chips outperform the rest of the market.

The dollar is back above the 102-yen level, currently buying ¥102.11, against ¥101.95 at this time on Friday. Among the forex-sensitive names showing strong gains on the back of the weaker currency are Sony (up 1.3%), Fujitsu (up 1.1%), and Trend Micro (up 2.1%).

Auto makers are mixed despite the softer yen, however, as Toyota Motor falls 0.7%, and Honda loses 0.5%, but Mazda rises 0.4%, and Nissan adds 1.2% after a Nikkei news report that it and German peer Daimler AG will soon announce a joint venture to build luxury subcompact cars in Mexico, starting in 2017.

A couple of other Nikkei news stories are also moving shares. Fast Retailing is up 1.3% on a report that its Uniqlo clothing chain is making its first price increase in its 30-year history.

A separate report that retailer Takashimaya will post a 25% rise in quarterly operating profit is helping its shares to a 0.7% gain. Takashimaya’s March-May results are due out later this week.

More generally, buying by foreign investors also appears to be helping the market, with Dow Jones Newswires reporting that ahead of the open, foreign brokerages were net buyers of Japanese equities for the fourth consecutive session.

Still, preliminary data on Chinese manufacturing for the current month, due out later in the morning from HSBC, could move Japanese shares if there’s a surprise.

Asia Stocks live blog: China’s factories bounce back – MarketWatch (blog)}

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