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Tokyo stocks rose sharply Monday on the year’s first trading day as buying was stirred by stock gains in overseas markets last week.

The 225-issue Nikkei Stock Average rose 134.38 points, or 1.57 percent, to 8,713.33. The Topix index of all first section issues gained 16.78 points, or 1.99 percent, to 860.07.

Stocks moved higher nearly across the board during the half-day session on the Tokyo Stock Exchange.

Investors welcomed the sharp gains in U.S. and European stocks while the Japanese markets were closed for the new year holiday, brokers said.

Last week in the United States, both the Dow Jones Industrial Average and the Nasdaq composite index advanced more than 3 percent. German stocks leaped 6 percent and French shares gained 4 percent.

But brokers said buying in Tokyo was limited because prospects for the Japanese economy were gloomy, with the end of deflation still nowhere in sight.

“Most of the day’s buying was short-covering by players who simply followed the upswing in U.S. markets,” said Norihiro Fujito, a senior investment strategist at Mitsubishi Securities Co.

Volume on the TSE’s main section increased to 329.92 million shares from 251.55 million Dec. 30, the last trading day of 2002, which was also a half-day session.

Gaining issues overwhelmed decliners 1,252 to 134, and 84 issues closed unchanged.

Most sectors gained ground, led by high-priced telecom and technology firms. Financial companies generally moved higher.

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