March 26, 2018 / 6:37 AM / 25 days ago

Nikkei bounces from 6-mth low as investors cover short positions

TOKYO, March 26 (Reuters) - Japan’s Nikkei share average rose on Monday in choppy trade, bouncing from a six-month low early in the session as investors covered their short positions and snapped up stocks which will go ex-dividend this week.

Traders also said that because the market fell in early trade, the Bank of Japan had likely bought exchange traded funds (ETFs) to support the market, which has been pushed lower by fears of a global trade war.

The Nikkei ended 0.7 percent higher at 20,766.10 points, after hitting an early low of 20,347.49, the weakest since late September.

With the business year-end looming on March 31 for a majority of listed companies, some stocks were bought before they go ex-dividend on Tuesday.

Index heavyweight stocks gained ground, with Fanuc rising 2.2 percent, Fast Retailing adding 1.3 percent and Daikin Industries surging 2.2 percent.

Drugmakers outperformed. Astellas Pharma and Eisai both gained 1.4 percent.

The broader Topix advanced 0.4 percent to 1,671.32. (Reporting by Ayai Tomisawa; Editing by Kim Coghill)

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