December 18, 2017 / 2:49 AM / 9 months ago

Nikkei rises on financials and exporters; builders stumble

TOKYO, Dec 18 (Reuters) - Japanese stocks rose on Monday with financial and exporter stocks leading gains, offsetting weakness in construction stocks after news prosecutors raided the headquarters of at least two construction firms for alleged antitrust violations.

The Nikkei share average gained 1.1 percent to 22,810.56 in midmorning trade, with sentiment boosted by a strong performance on Wall Street on Friday on expectations U.S. lawmakers will pass a long-awaited tax bill.

The banking and insurance sectors were the top sectoral performers, soaring 2.4 percent and 2.3 percent, respectively.

Mitsubishi UFJ Financial Group surged 2.9 percent, Sumitomo Mitsui Financial Group advanced 1.7 percent and Dai-ichi Life Holdings jumped 3.2 percent.

Exporters also gained ground, with Toyota Motor surging 2.4 percent, Honda Motor rising 1.4 percent and TDK Corp advancing 2.2 percent.

On the other hand, the construction sector slipped 0.4 percent and was the worst performer on the board after news Tokyo prosecutors had raided the headquarters of at least two of Japan’s biggest construction firms for alleged antitrust violations linked to $80 billion worth of magnetic levitation (maglev) train line projects.

Shimizu Corp and Kajima Corp were raided early on Monday morning, spokesmen for the two companies separately said, sending both stocks 2.4 percent and 3.4 percent lower, respectively.

The broader Topix advanced 1.1 percent to 1,812.96. (Editing by Jacqueline Wong)

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