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Japanese Stocks Rise for Second Day; Chemical Makers Advance

Japanese stocks rose for a second day as chemical makers advanced following a report Shin-Etsu Chemical Co. will resume operation at its factory after last month’s record earthquake and tsunami.

Shin-Etsu, a maker of synthetic resins, gained 2 percent after the Jiji News said the company will start production of silicon wafers at its Fukushima factory by the end of this month. Toshiba Corp., Japan’s biggest maker of nuclear reactors, climbed 2 percent as company President Norio Sasaki said it may beat its profit forecast. Isuzu Motors Ltd., Japan’s largest maker of light-duty trucks, surged 6.2 percent, even after it denied a report that Volkswagen AG is considering taking a stake in the company.

“A sense of ease spread as companies’ effort will likely help them restart production earlier than people thought,” said Yasuhiko Hirakawa, a fund manager at Tokyo-based DIAM, which manages the equivalent of $55 billion. “As more companies are restarting production, people started to be able to make a level-headed judgment on earnings recovery. Bottom of corporate earnings will likely be in this quarter or the next quarter.”

The Nikkei 225 rose 0.1 percent to 9,653.92 at the 3 p.m. close in Tokyo. The broader Topix index gained 0.3 percent to 846.72, with more than three times as many stocks advancing as falling. The Topix has lost 9 percent from March 10, the day before the earthquake and tsunami that devastated Japan’s northeast coast and crippled a Tokyo Electric Power Co. plant in Fukushima.

Restarting Production

Shin-Etsu Chemical increased 2 percent to 4,275 yen and was the biggest contributor to the Nikkei’s gain. The company plans to resume production of silicon wafers by the end of this month at a factory damaged by the March 11 earthquake, according to the Jiji News.

Chemical makers Tosoh Corp. and Nitto Denko Corp. also advanced. Tosoh jumped 4.7 percent to 289 yen, while Nitto Denko climbed 3.7 percent to 4,305 yen. The industry group that includes the chemical makers was the second-biggest contributor to the Topix’s advance.

Daihatsu Motor Co. extended yesterday’s advance, rising 2.4 percent to 1,152 yen after the automaker said before the market closed yesterday that it will restart its Osaka and Kyoto plants on April 18, resuming production at all its factories.

Toshiba increased 2 percent to 404 yen. Net income for the year ended March 31 may exceed Toshiba’s January estimate, President Sasaki told reporters today in Tokyo, declining to elaborate. Sasaki also said last month’s earthquake and tsunami, which forced manufacturers including Toshiba to shutter factories due to shortages of parts and electricity, will have a limited impact on earnings for the fiscal year just ended.

Isuzu Motors surged 6.2 percent to 310 yen, the second-biggest gain in the Nikkei, even after Volkswagen AG said it won’t decide soon on whether to take a stake in Japan’s largest maker of light trucks, responding to Germany’s Manager Magazin that reported Volkswagen’s possible purchase of Isuzu shares. Isuza denied the report.

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