Nikkei gains as yen drops to 6-year low but volume low before weekend

Reuters

* Short-term funds seen major players - analysts * For the week, Nikkei has gained 2 percent * Sekisui House soars on strong earnings By Ayai Tomisawa TOKYO, Sept 5 (Reuters) - Japan's Nikkei share average rose on Friday morning as the dollar rose to a six-year high against the yen, supported by the European Central Bank's latest monetary easing.

The weaker yen helped exporters such as Toyota Motor Corp and Honda Motor Co The Nikkei gained 0.3 percent to 15,725.67 in mid-morning trade, hovering near a seven-month high of 15,829.38 hit on Wednesday. For the week, the index has risen 2.0 percent.

The ECB cut interest rates to fresh record lows and announced plans to buy asset-backed securities (ABS) and covered bonds in October.

Analysts said that the weak yen trend supports the overall mood, but for Friday, the major players seen are short-term hedge funds, so gains may be trimmed later in the trade.

"Short-term traders are drawn to Japan as they buy futures while they sell the yen," said Norihiro Fujito, a senior investment strategist at Mitsubishi UFJ Morgan Stanley Securities. "Bellwether stocks like Toyota are rising so sentiment is positive, but volume in cash trade is not impressive so the market may become choppy later." Fujito said that cash investors refrained from taking large positions before the weekend.

Toyota gained 0.7 percent, Honda added 0.4 percent and Canon Inc advanced 0.3 percent after the dollar climbed to as high as 105.71 yen, its highest level since October 2008. It last stood at 105.60 yen, up 0.3 percent on the day.

Sekisui House Ltd soared 2.2 percent after its earnings for the Feb-July period were robust due to its strong rental housing business.

The broader Topix was flat at 1,296.83, and the new JPX-Nikkei Index 400 rose 0.1 percent to 11,768.22.

(Editing by Richard Borsuk)

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