Japan's Nikkei rebounds as weaker yen boosts sentiment; banks weigh

·2 min read

By Kevin Buckland

TOKYO, March 27 (Reuters) - Japan's Nikkei index edged higher on Monday, with a weaker yen boosting sentiment in the exporter-heavy market, but continued worries about a global banking crisis weighed on financial shares, capping gains.

The Nikkei ended the morning session up 0.31% at 27,471.17, following two straight sessions of small losses.

Of the 225 component stocks, 160 were up, while 57 fell and eight were flat.

The broader Topix rose 0.41% to 1,963.26.

Among the Tokyo Stock Exchange's 33 industry sectors, land transport was the best performer, climbing 1.96%, followed by a 1.5% rally for real estate.

Banking was the biggest decliner, down 0.48%.

Deutsche Bank became the latest global lender to get caught in investors' crosshairs, with its shares tumbling as much as 15% amid escalating unease of the health of the sector following the failures of Silicon Valley Bank and forced merger of Credit Suisse and UBS.

"Amid all the concerns about a banking crisis, for this week I expect the Nikkei to stay heavy," said Kazuo Kamitani, a strategist at Nomura.

"For the time being, the outlook is for either sideways trading in a narrow range or edging lower," although "the bottom looks quite firm," particularly around 27,300, he said.

Uniqlo store operator Fast Retailing Co Ltd was the biggest support for the Nikkei, contributing 16 points to the index's 86 point advance with a 0.58% gain.

Automakers were firm, after the yen's pullback from a nearly two-month high to the dollar at the end of last week. Suzuki Motor Corp rallied 1.73%, Subaru Corp added 0.73% and Honda Motor Co Ltd gained 0.65%

At the other end, chip-making equipment maker Tokyo Electron Ltd was the biggest drag, erasing 38 index points with a 2.24% slide, tracking declines from Friday in U.S. peers.

Among the big banks, Sumitomo Mitsui Financial Group Inc fell the most, down 1.19%. (Reporting by Kevin Buckland; Editing by Varun H K)