Nikkei rises as chip-related stocks, exporters lead gains


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    * Nikkei has gained 2.2 pct for the week
    * Gains in U.S. futures raise investors' risk appetite -
    * Descente soars after report Itochu raises stake to 40 pct

    By Ayai Tomisawa
    TOKYO, March 15 (Reuters) - Japan's Nikkei made firm gains
on Friday morning as a weaker yen supported exporter stocks,
while chip-related companies rose on earnings from Broadcom
after the Wall Street close.
    The market is focused on the Bank Of Japan's policy meeting.
While the BOJ is seen sticking to its assessment that Japan's
economy "continues to expand moderately," it may slightly modify
the language to reflect heightening external risks, the sources
    The Nikkei share average  .N225  gained 1 percent to
21,498.07 in midmorning trade. For the week, the index has been
up 2.2 percent so far.
    Chipmaker Broadcom Inc's  AVGO.O  first-quarter profit and
revenue forecast beat market estimates, lifting its stock 4.7
percent in extended trading.*:nL3N21150J
    The news helped lift shares of Japanese chip-related names,
with chip equipment maker Tokyo Electron  8035.T  soaring 3
percent and silicon products maker Sumco Corp  3436.T  rising
1.2 percent.
    "Appetite for cyclical stocks is strong as the yen is weak
and the earnings in the U.S. chip sector helps the mood," said
Nobuhiko Kuramochi, a strategist at Mizuho Securities, adding
that gains in U.S. futures, which pointed to a stronger open in
Wall Street, are also raising risk appetite.
    During Asian trade, Dow e-minis  1YMc1  rose 45 points, or
0.2 percent. S&P 500 e-minis  ESc1  were up 4 points, or 0.1
percent and Nasdaq 100 e-minis  NQc1  were up 19.5 points, or
0.3 percent.
    The dollar is up 0.1 percent to 111.87 yen  JPY= , helping
exporters rally. Fanuc Corp  6954.T  rose 1.6 percent, Komatsu
 6301.T  surged 1.9 percent and Honda Motor Co  7267.T  soared
1.5 percent.
    Elsewhere, Descente  8114.T  soared 4.2 percent after the
Nikkei reported that trading house Itochu Corp  8001.T  looks to
have secured the 40 percent target stake in the sportswear
maker, up from about 30 percent.
    The broader Topix  .TOPX  gained 1.1 percent to 1,604.94,
with all of its 33 subsectors in positive territory. Advancing
issues outnumbered declining ones 1,740 to 306.

 (Editing by Sam Holmes)
 ((; 81-3-6441-1875; Reuters

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