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Stocks

Biomedical, chemical shares get Nobel bump in Tokyo

TOKYO -- Shares in the Tokyo market with potential links to Nobel Prize wins surged Tuesday after a Japanese biologist triumphed in the medicine category a day earlier.

Yoshinori Osumi was awarded the Nobel in medicine or physiology Monday for research into the process by which cells break down and recycle proteins, known as autophagy. This work holds promise for novel disease treatments, nudging investors toward makers of materials such as drugs for research trials.

Takara Bio hit a year-to-date high of 1,847 yen early in the day before closing up 1.9% at 1,711 yen. Shares in Cosmo Bio and Medical & Biological Laboratories allocated at closing went for 22.1% and 16.4% more than on Monday, both daily limits, though neither changed hands during the regular session.

Investors also flocked to shares potentially linked to the physics prize -- a category where Japan has historically made a strong showing, but which went to three British-born scientists after the market closed Tuesday. Zeon, which makes carbon nanotubes, climbed 3.5% to close at 923 yen amid buzz that Sumio Iijima, a distinguished invited professor at Nagoya University, could take the prize for research into those minute structures. Electronic component makers TDK and Nidec gained 2.8% and 1.3%, respectively.

Akira Fujishima, president of the Tokyo University of Science, is thought to be a contender for the chemistry prize for his work on the photocatalytic properties of titanium dioxide. Shares in Titan Kogyo, a maker of the substance, ended up 9.1% Tuesday at 204 yen. Chemical maker Ishihara Sangyo rose 5.1%.

Novelist Haruki Murakami, a perennial favorite for the Nobel in literature, is on investors' minds again this year, lifting bookseller Bunkyodo Group Holdings 10.2% to 628 yen. Maruzen CHI Holdings edged up 0.5%.

Yet observers are less than impressed by this Nobel-fueled surge. The phenomenon is the result of investors finding any reason to temporarily park funds in stocks amid a mostly directionless market, according to Mitsushige Akino of Ichiyoshi Asset Management.

(Nikkei)

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