March 31, 2017 / 3:07 AM / a year ago

Nikkei gains on solid industrial output data, Wall St

* Nikkei poised for 0.5 percent weekly drop

* Tech shares gain after strong Nasdaq underpins sentiment

* The Morinagas dive after scrapping integration plan

By Ayai Tomisawa

TOKYO, March 31 (Reuters) - Japanese stocks rose on Friday as upbeat industrial production data and a weak yen supported sentiment, with exporters and tech shares underpinning the broad market in early trade.

The Nikkei share average gained 0.5 percent to 19,165.47 in midmorning trade, and is poised for a similar weekly decline.

Much of the demand for Japanese stocks has been influenced by the yen’s moves and broad sentiment around U.S. President Donald Trump’s early efforts to change domestic policies.

Trump’s failure to push through a healthcare bill sent the Nikkei to six-week lows on Monday as investors fretted about his ability to push through economic stimulus measures.

U.S. shares gained overnight thanks to robust consumer spending data and revised figures showing fourth quarter U.S. economic growth was stronger than previously reported.

Japanese exporters rose after the dollar tacked on 0.2 percent to 112.11 yen, and tech shares tracked a robust Nasdaq market which closed at a record high overnight. Murata Manufacturing advanced 1.4 percent, Nidec Corp soared 2.1 percent and TDK Corp surged 2.1 percent.

“Overseas data and domestic economic data are both helping Japanese shares,” said Yoshihiro Okumura, general manager at Chibagin Asset Management.

But as the dollar-yen levels have been volatile recently, Okumura said investors will remain cautious for a while.

On the domestic front, solid data added to the better mood, with official figures showing Japan’s industrial output rose 2.0 percent in February from the previous month for the fastest pace of increase in eight months.

The food sector was among the few drags on the broader market, falling 0.2 percent after Morinaga & Co and Morinaga Milk Industry Co said they scrapped the integration plan.

Morinaga & Co tumbled 5 percent, while Morinaga Milk nosedived 15 percent.

The broader Topix rose 0.7 percent to 1,538.27 and the JPX-Nikkei Index 400 gained 0.8 percent to 13,755.95.

Editing by Shri Navaratnam

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