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Nikkei tops 13,500 line as hot streak continues

JIJI

Stocks climbed further Thursday following gains in overseas stocks and the yen’s weakening, sending the benchmark Nikkei average to the first close above 13,500 in more than 56 months.

The 225-issue Nikkei average closed up 261.03 points, or 1.96 percent, at 13,549.16, the highest finish since July 24, 2008. On Wednesday, the key market gauge gained 95.78 points.

The Topix index of all first-section issues extended its winning streak to a seventh session, ending up 26.25 points, or 2.34 percent, at 1,147.29, the highest since Sept. 26, 2008. It advanced 19.00 points the previous day.

The Tokyo market got off to a strong start after U.S. and European stocks gained ground Wednesday. On Wall Street, the Dow Industrial average and the S&P 500 index marked fresh all-time closing highs.

Gains in Tokyo stocks were led by mainstay export-oriented issues on the back of a drop of the yen, which came closer to the important level of 100 to the dollar and briefly dropped past 130 to the euro in Tokyo trading.

After cutting early gains on profit-taking, both the Nikkei average and Topix regained upward momentum toward the close and finished at their session highs. Firmness of other Asian markets supported the Tokyo market, brokers said.

Thanks to low interest rate policies in Japan, Europe and the United States, and the U.S. economic recovery, investment money is flowing into risk assets globally, brokers said.

“In addition, the S&P 500′s rise to a record high on the back of a positive outlook for U.S. corporate earnings had a major positive impact on investor sentiment,” said Kenichi Hirano, adviser and market analyst at Tachibana Securities Co., noting that wariness over a possible North Korean missile launch has eased somewhat

Winners outnumbered losers 1,125 to 480 in the TSE’s first section, while 108 issues were unchanged. Volume fell slightly to 5.148 billion shares from Wednesday’s 5.277 billion.

BOJ move lifts JGBs

Japanese government bonds wiped out their early weakness to bounce back sharply Thursday after the Bank of Japan announced its schedule for additional JGB-buying operations under its monetary easing scheme introduced earlier this month.

In futures trading, the lead June contract on 10-year JGBs closed up 0.57 point from Wednesday at 144.73. Volume grew to 42,937 contracts from 30,866.