/

Nikkei presses ahead as yen slide continues

JIJI

Stocks climbed further Thursday, buoyed by the yen’s weakening and overnight gains in European and U.S. equities.

The 225-issue Nikkei average closed up 74.07 points, or 0.70 percent, at 10,652.64. On Wednesday, the key market gauge gained 70.51 points.

The Topix index of all first-section issues rose 9.97 points, or 1.13 percent, to end at 889.02, after gaining 7.17 points the previous day.

A wide range of issues, notably cyclical stocks, attracted buying from the outset of Thursday’s trading.

The Nikkei average briefly rose more than 100 points and maintained firmness throughout the session as buying on dips outpaced selling from wariness over high prices.

On top of hopes for economic policies to be taken by Japan’s new administration, a brighter outlook for the global economy bolstered the market, brokers said.

“A forecast given by U.S. aluminum giant Alcoa Inc. that world aluminum demand is likely to show solid growth in 2013 soothed concerns over the course of the global economy,” said Hiroichi Nishi, equity general manager at SMBC Nikko Securities Inc.

In addition, China’s better-than-expected export data, released late in the morning, helped improve market sentiment, brokers said. According to China’s customs data, the country’s exports increased 14.1 percent in December from a year before, beating market expectation of 2.9 percent growth.

Trading was very active as foreigners seem to continue buying at a time when individual investors’ revolving trade has been accelerating thanks to a relaxation of regulations on margin trading, brokers said.

“The current market energy exceeds a feeling of overheating” after a rally over the past two months, Nishi noted.

Gainers overwhelmed decliners 1,218 to 396 in the TSE’s first section, while 83 issues were unchanged. Volume swelled to 4.171 billion shares from Wednesday’s 3.667 billion, scoring the highest since March 16, 2011.

JGBs tweak upward

Japanese government bond futures edged up Thursday, partly backed by the strength of U.S. Treasury securities overnight.

The lead March contract on 10-year JGBs rose 0.03 point from Wednesday to end at 143.46.

Volume fell to 31,689 contracts from 41,905.