* Nikkei rises 1.2 pct, Topix up 0.8 pct
* Japan business mood near 6-year high - BOJ tankan
* US govt on brink of shutdown, congress remains deadlocked
* Heavyweights, automakers in demand
By Tomo Uetake
TOKYO, Oct 1 (Reuters) - Japan's Nikkei average rebounded
more than 1 percent on Tuesday morning after strong corporate
sentiment data reinforced expectations that the prime minister
will go ahead with a fiscal reform plan and offer stimulus to
mitigate the impact on economy.
Sentiment among large Japanese manufacturers improved more
than expected to a nearly six-year high, the Bank of Japan's
quarterly "tankan" survey showed before the market
Prime Minister Shinzo Abe had cited the tankan outcome as
key factor in deciding whether to raise the sales tax in April
to help fix Japan's tattered finances. He is expected to
announce the tax increase later on Tuesday as well as an
economic stimulus package.
"The tankan results, especially the (big manufacturers'
sentiment) index, have boosted the case for Prime Minister Abe
to proceed with a planned sales tax hike next year," said
Masayuki Doshida, a senior market analyst at Rakuten Securities.
"So foreign investors are buying shares without waiting for
the announcement this evening."
The benchmark Nikkei was up 1.2 percent at 14,627.66
at the midday break, after dropping 2.1 percent to 14,455.80 on
Monday. The broader Topix added 0.8 percent to 1,203.26.
The gains came despite global investor worries as the U.S.
government was on the verge of a major shutdown, with Congress
in partisan deadlock over Republican efforts to halt President
Barack Obama's healthcare reforms using a temporary spending
bill. Obama urged Republicans to reach an 11th-hour deal to
avert any economic harm.
Index heavyweights led the gains on the back of foreign
investors' buying of stock-index futures. SoftBank Corp
climbed 3.2 percent to become the most-traded stock by turnover
on the main board, and Fast Retailing Co Ltd advanced 2
Automakers were also in demand as the dollar rose as high as
98.685 yen on trading platform EBS. A weaker yen sharpens
Japanese exporters' competitive edge in global markets and
bolsters their dollar earnings when repatriated.
Fuji Heavy Industries Ltd, which makes Subaru cars,
advanced 2.3 percent and was the ninth-most traded stock by
turnover on the main board. Honda Motor Co Ltd gained
1.7 percent and Nissan Motor Co Ltd added 1.3 percent.
The benchmark Nikkei is up 41 percent this year, but is down
8 percent since its May peak.
- Budget, Tax & Economy