24 November 2005, 11:11  Tokyo stocks higher; dollar slips vs yen

Japan's benchmark index rose Thursday morning during a sixth straight session of gains, with shares in export, high-tech, and nonbank financial companies all higher. The dollar slipped against the yen. The Nikkei 225 index rose 76.92 points, or 0.52 percent, to 14,785.24 points at the end of morning trading on the Tokyo Stock Exchange. Tokyo markets were closed Wednesday for the Labor Thanksgiving national holiday. The broader TOPIX index, which includes all issues on the exchange's first section, rose 0.57 point, negligible in percentage terms, to 1,527.11. Semiconductor testing device maker Advantest Corp. traded higher, as did other technology issues. Oil stocks also gained in the morning session, following a Japanese newspaper report that Nippon Oil Corp., the country's major oil wholesaler, plans to propose a business tie-up with two other Japanese oil companies. The Nihon Keizai financial newspaper reported Thursday that Nippon Oil will propose business ties with Teikoku Oil Co. and Inpex Corp., both of which plan to merge in April 2006 to become Japan's biggest natural resource developer. A business relationship between Nippon Oil, and the Teikoku Oil-Inpex entity, if realized, would create a major comprehensive oil company handling activities from oil field development to refining and sales, analysts said. The stock market has posted robust gains in recent months amid strong evidence that Japan's economy is heading to recovery after languishing for much of the past 15 years. Government data of late have showed lower unemployment and a rise in manufacturing activity. Finance Ministry statistics on Japan's balance of trade released Thursday showed exports rose 8 percent on year in value terms for the 23rd straight month of rises. Also supporting the market was Wall Street's earlier gains. The Dow Jones industrial average rose 44.66, or 0.41 percent, to close at 10,916.09. In currency trading, the dollar was trading at 118.60 yen at 11 a.m. Thursday, down 0.27 yen from late Wednesday in New York. The euro fell to $1.1813 from $1.1870 late Wednesday in New York.

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