• Kyodo News


Tokyo stocks rose Friday, with the key Nikkei index briefly reaching 9,000 for the first time in three months, as investors cheered an overnight surge on Wall Street due to diminished concern about the U.S. financial sector.

The 225-issue Nikkei stock average ended the session at 8,964.11, up 48.05 points, or 0.54 percent, from Thursday, after rising to an intraday high of 9,068.80. The Nikkei last hit the 9,000 mark during trading hours Jan. 8, when it logged 9,148.83.

The broader Topix index of all first section issues on the Tokyo Stock Exchange advanced 4.16 points, or 0.49 percent, to close at 845.97.

Gains were led by sea transport, consumer finance and insurance issues. Major losers included banking, retail and service issues.

Yukio Takahashi, a stock market analyst at Shinko Securities Co., said stocks gained as investors were encouraged by the sharp rise in U.S. stocks Thursday on diminished concern about the U.S. banking sector, helped partly by commercial bank Wells Fargo & Co.’s announcement it expects to book a record first quarter net profit of $3 billion.

Takahashi said investors also “reacted positively” to a recent New York Times report that said all 19 U.S. banks will pass government “stress tests” being held to determine whether they will hold up in the event the recession worsens.

These factors pushed the Nikkei index up to the psychologically important 9,000 line at one point, although it failed to sustain the level.

“Investors are taking a breather now after they became satisfied with hitting the psychologically important 9,000 mark,” said Kazuhiro Takahashi, general manager of the global product planning department at Daiwa Securities SMBC Co.

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