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Tokyo stocks rise on higher U.S. market, yen’s easing


Stocks advanced further on the Tokyo Stock Exchange Friday, supported by an overnight rise in U.S. equities and a weaker yen.

The 225-issue Nikkei average climbed 48.07 points, or 0.30 percent, to close at 16,188.41. On Thursday, the key market gauge gained 224.55 points.

The Topix index of all first-section issues ended up 3.73 points, or 0.29 percent, at 1,311.27, after rising 23.01 points the previous day.

Buying outpaced selling from the outset of Friday’s trading after U.S. equities rose sharply on Thursday thanks to stronger-than-expected durable goods orders in the United States in January.

Investors also took heart from a rise in crude oil futures prices on a news report that oil-producing countries, including Saudi Arabia, will hold a meeting on freezing oil output increase in the middle of March, brokers said.

The dollar’s brief rise above ¥113 and firmer U.S. stocks on the back of a recovery in oil prices improved investor sentiment in Tokyo, pushing up the Nikkei average more than 300 points early in the morning session, according to brokers.

Stocks shed much of their gains by the close as investors retreated to the sidelines to see the results of a meeting of Group of 20 finance ministers and central bank chiefs in Shanghai for two days from Friday, brokers said.

Thanks to the brisk U.S. economic data, “investor worries about the health of the U.S. economy somewhat eased,” an official of a bank-affiliated securities firm said.

Concerns also retreated over the downside risk of Tokyo stocks as market participants are beginning to think that the market bottomed out when the Nikkei average plunged below the key chart line of 15,000 earlier this month.

“But stability in crude oil prices and exchange rates is still needed for Tokyo stocks to get back fully on an upward trend,” said Hideyuki Suzuki, head of the investment market research department at SBI Securities Co.

Expectations have increased among investors that the G-20 meeting will produce an agreement on coordinated action to stabilize financial markets.

If the meeting’s results fail to meet such expectations, the stock market is likely to be affected negatively, an official of a major securities firm said.

Rising issues outnumbered falling ones 1,002 to 830 in the TSE’s first section, while 109 issues were unchanged.

Volume fell to about 2.16 billion shares from Thursday’s about 2.40 billion shares.

The weaker yen helped lift export-oriented names, such as electronic parts producers Murata Manufacturing, TDK and Alps Electric.

Rakuten surged 5.83 percent on a news report that the online shopping mall operator is working on a review of its overseas business strategy, including a withdrawal from Southeast Asia.

Other major winners included mobile phone carrier SoftBank, clothing store chain operator Fast Retailing, and industrial robot manufacturer Fanuc, all heavily weighted components of the Nikkei average.

By contrast, Sharp dived 11.41 percent on news that Taiwan’s Hon Hai Precision Industry has received a list of “contingent liabilities” worth ¥350 billion and withheld the signing of a deal to acquire the electronics maker.

In index futures trading on the Osaka Exchange, the key March contract on the Nikkei average closed up 130 points at 16,260.