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Nikkei rises to 3.5 month high, earnings push Shiseido to record

TOKYO: Japan's Nikkei share average rose to a 3-1/2 month high on Monday following sharp gains in cosmetics maker Shiseido after better-than-expected earnings offset weak tech shares, which tracked declines in their US counterparts last week.

The Nikkei ended 0.5 per cent higher to 22,865.86, the highest closing level since Feb. 2.

Shiseido Co jumped more than 15 per cent to a record high and was the second most traded stock by turnover after its operating profit for the January-March quarter soared 95.3 per cent to 47.1 billion yen.

It contributed a hefty 41 positive points to the Nikkei.

SMBC Nikko Securities said that it was better than the brokerage's forecast of 28.5 billion yen thanks to strong sales for mid-priced cosmetics products in the domestic market and brisk demand from inbound tourists.

Meanwhile, analysts said that overall gains in the market may be limited on Monday as the weak-yen trend has paused, with the dollar trading flat at 109.330 yen.

"While many companies have their dollar-yen assumptions at 105 yen, the market remains cautious about the risk of rising yen," said Yutaka Miura, a senior technical analyst at Mizuho Securities.

Tech shares, such as chip manufacturing equipment makers, lost ground, with Tokyo Electron shedding 0.4 per cent, while Advantest sliding 1.1 per cent.

Olympus Corp stumbled 3.0 per cent after it said it expected an operating profit of 81 billion yen for the year ending March 2019, undershooting 91 billion yen forecast by 15 analysts polled by Thomson Reuters.

The broader Topix gained 0.6 per cent to 1,805.92.

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