The Nikkei average recorded its second biggest jump ever Friday thanks to growing expectations that the government and the ruling Liberal Democratic Party are shifting policies to save the economy and the stock market.The 225-issue Nikkei average soared 924.47 points, or 6.1 percent, to end the postholiday session at 16,046.45 on top of a 366.04 rise on Wednesday. Friday’s gain was the steepest since the 1,200.80-point rise on Nov. 17, 1997.In the Diet, Prime Minister Ryutaro Hashimoto stressed the need to deliver on government pledges to implement a 2 trillion yen pump-priming tax cut and to pass financial stabilization measures. His comments combined with other factors to trigger heavy trading on broad fronts amid growing expectations that additional economic stimulus measures are in the offing.Market players were also heartened by the LDP’s reported move to allow banks to shore up their capital base by reappraising the value of their landholdings and latent profits on their equity holdings, brokerage officials said. The move is apparently aimed at prodding financial institutions to change their cautious stance on lending. The ruling party announced earlier in the week that it intends to introduce legislation to allow the switch in the accounting method.On the currency market, the yen gained further ground against the dollar amid speculation that foreign investors are returning to the Tokyo market. The yen changed hands at 128.88-91 to the dollar at 5 p.m., up 1.99 from Wednesday’s late quotes of 130.87-90.
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