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Market Scramble: 'Sell' reports spark buying of some stocks

Negative feedback seen pushing companies to boost investor returns

TOKYO -- Some selling recommendations from hedge funds and brokerages have ended up lifting stocks' prices, as they served as a catalyst for the companies in question to step up share buybacks and other measures to bolster shareholder returns.

Take SMC, a major manufacturer of pneumatic and electric automation equipment. It drew buying Tuesday morning and at one point flirted with 33,230 yen -- the highest in the period going back to January 2016 -- before ending the day a tad down. SMC has gained 14% since the start of the year to far surpass a Nikkei Stock Average that has remained roughly flat.

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