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Nikkei climbs to highest close since June 2008

JIJI

Stocks rose sharply Wednesday, boosted by rosy U.S. equities and a weakening of the yen.

The Nikkei 225 average surged 313.81 points, or 2.32 percent, to end at the day’s high of 13,843.46, its best close since June 24, 2008. The Topix shot up 20.57 points, or 1.80 percent, to finish at 1,164.35, its highest close since Sept. 24, 2008.

Stocks rose sharply from the outset, bolstered by hefty gains in New York and Europe. Mainstay Nikkei components, including automakers, electronics makers and big banks, drew strong buying interest.

Although the yen didn’t ease further, the key indexes extended their gains in the afternoon on the back of strong buying appetite among both foreign investors and individuals, brokers said.

Robust performances in Asian markets also shored up investor sentiment, while index futures-led buying in late afternoon trading contributed to the Nikkei’s surge.

Although there were no major buying clues, domestic investors who have been holding back were inspired by continued purchases by foreign investors, a brokerage official said.

“The Nikkei average is expected to touch 14,000″ in the middle of Golden Week, said Ryuta Otsuka of Toyo Securities Co.

Market participants are keeping a close eye on the Bank of Japan’s Policy Board meeting and a news conference by BOJ Gov. Haruhiko Kuroda on Friday, according to traders.

“Investors expect no fresh news will come out of the meeting, but they want to know what Kuroda has to say,” Otsuka said.

Winners overwhelmed losers 1,390 to 258 on the first section, while volume increased to 4.597 billion shares from 4.348 billion Tuesday.

JGBs inch lower

Japanese government bonds fell slightly Wednesday as successful yields in the Bank of Japan’s JGB buying operations were considered relatively high.

The lead June contract on 10-year JGBs closed down 0.06 point from Tuesday at 144.61. Turnover increased to 23,352 contracts from 19,330. In late interdealer trading in cash JGBs, the yield on the latest 328th 10-year issue with a 0.6 percent coupon stood at 0.595 percent, up from 0.585 percent late Tuesday.

Market players had focused on the BOJ’s purchases of long-term JGBs totaling ¥1 trillion. A sharp rise in Japanese stock prices also pressured JGBs, traders said.