TOKYO , Feb. 5 -- ( Kyodo ) _ (EDS: ADDING INFO) The Nikkei stock index finished higher Wednesday in volatile trading after briefly falling below the 14,000 threshold for the first time in four months, as bargain-hunting took the upper hand following recent sharp losses. The 225-issue Nikkei Stock Average ended up 171.91 points, or 1.23 percent, from Tuesday at 14,180.38, snapping its four-day losing streak that saw a 9 percent slump. The broader Topix index of all First Section issues on the Tokyo Stock Exchange finished 23.37 points, or 2.05 percent, higher at 1,162.64. The Tokyo market got off to a strong start, with investors' nervousness eased following an overnight rebound in U.S. shares and a halt in the yen's appreciation both against the U.S. dollar and the euro. The Nikkei rose more than 230 points in the morning but investors were wary of seeking further upside before confirming a U.S. jobs report for January, due out Friday, after recent tepid U.S. manufacturing data raised concern over a slowing of the world's largest economy's recovery, dealers said. Investors locked in on early gains quickly, sending the Nikkei lower to a four-month intraday low of 13,995.86 shortly after the start of the afternoon session, before it made a comeback to the positive column, supported by gains in major automaker and high-tech companies' shares with strong earnings results. "Following recent sharp losses, circumstances were set for shares to make a rebound from the perspective of valuations and technical charts," said Nobuhiko Kuramochi , chief strategist at Mizuho Securities Co. In such a position, the market reacted to positive earnings reports by major companies, he added. Toyota Motor surged 330 yen or 6.0 percent to 5,830 yen after revising upward its operating profit projection for the current fiscal year to a record 2.4 trillion yen . Panasonic jumped 201 yen or 18.9 percent to 1,262 yen after reporting a return to the black in the April-December period with a record net profit of 243 billion yen . The electronics maker also said it will sell its entire shareholdings in its three subsidiaries operating overseas semiconductor assembly plants to Singaporean chip maker UTAC Holdings Ltd. Gains in such export-oriented automaker and high-tech shares were also supported by the dollar's rebound from a two-and-half-month low in the 100 yen zone hit the previous day. Toshikazu Horiuchi , equity strategist at IwaiCosmo Securities Co. , said the recent sell-off on the Tokyo market was overdone and it is not surprising to see shares bouncing back. "But considering the size of fall, the rebound lacks vigor," he added, noting that market players are waiting to see the upcoming U.S. jobs report. Advancing issues outnumbered declining ones 1,441 to 267 on the First Section, while 72 closed unchanged. Among other major gainers, Sony climbed 70 yen or 4.6 percent to 1,600 yen after news that it is considering setting up a new company with an investment fund to help revive its struggling Vaio personal computer business. Hitachi climbed 21 yen or 2.8 percent to 770 yen after raising its operating profit forecast for the current fiscal year to a record 510 billion yen . Mitsubishi Motors went up 79 yen or 7.6 percent to 1,124 yen after reporting that its net profit for the April to December period soared fivefold from a year earlier. Trading volume on the main section came to 3,761.19 million shares, compared with Tuesday's 4,233.27 million shares.
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