Japanese stocks rise for 4th straight session, led by tech and drug shares

Japanese stocks rose for a fourth straight session Tuesday, led by technology and pharmaceutical shares. Investors were heartened by modest gains on Wall Street overnight and shrugged volatility in Chinese shares.

The Nikkei 225 index added 80.39 points, or 0.45 percent, on the Tokyo Stock Exchange to finish at 18,053.81 points - the highest close since Feb. 27. The index now has gained 2.65 percent the last four trading sessions.

Motomi Hiratsuka, head of global portfolio marketing and trading at BNP Paribas in Tokyo, said the Chinese stock market's recent drop was unlikely to impact the Tokyo stock market in near term. The Shanghai index, which plunged 8.3 percent Monday and was down much of Tuesday, rebounded in late trading to close up 2.6 percent.

"China's recent drop is rather healthy for its market, considering that Beijing announced stamp tax hikes just last week," Hiratsuka said. "Investors are warned what the government will be up for if shares start soaring again."

Tokyo market remains more vulnerable to moves in U.S. stocks, which can strongly hit overseas liquidity if they retreat from recent highs, he said.

In Tuesday's session, gainers included Tokyo Electron Ltd., which climbed 1.37 percent to 8,890 yen (US$72.87), Fanuc Ltd., which added 1.82 percent to 11,720 yen (US$96.07), and Daichi Sankyo Co., which rose 1.81 percent to 3,370 yen (US$27.62).

Machinery shares also rose, with Hitachi Construction Machinery Co. gaining 0.95 percent to 4,260 yen (US$34.92).

The broader Topix index, which includes all shares on the exchange's first section, gained 3.72 points, or 0.21 percent, to 1,776.56 points.

In currencies, the U.S. dollar was trading at 122.84 yen at 2:50 p.m. (0550 GMT) Tuesday, up from 121.82 yen late Monday in New York. The euro rose to US$1.3498 from US$1.3488.