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Tokyo stocks rose for the third consecutive session Monday, backed by stronger-than-expected U.S. employment data, leading the key Nikkei average to end above 30,000 for the first time in over two weeks.

The 225-issue Nikkei average gained 235.25 points, or 0.79%, to close at 30,089.25, breaching the psychologically important threshold for the first time since March 18. On Friday, the benchmark index surged 465.13 points.

The Topix index of all first-section issues on the Tokyo Stock Exchange finished 11.92 points, or 0.60%, higher at 1,983.54, after climbing 13.98 points the previous trading day.

Buying took the upper hand from the outset, with investors taking heart from the U.S. government’s jobs report for March, released Friday, showing a far larger increase than they had thought in nonfarm payrolls, brokers said. The Nikkei shot up over 300 points in the first few minutes.

After the initial spurt, the market came under profit-taking pressure. But it stayed sufficiently high throughout the session thanks to a rise in index futures on the U.S. Dow Jones industrial average in off-hours trading.

“The jobs data suggest that the U.S. economy has returned to normal,” said Masahiro Ichikawa, chief market strategist at Sumitomo Mitsui DS Asset Management Co.

The market was also kept afloat by foreign players’ active buying of heavyweight components of the Nikkei average, including clothing store chain operator Fast Retailing and technology investor SoftBank Group, an official at a bank-affiliated securities firm noted.

Meawhile, Ichikawa pointed out that after the early morning buying binge, participants increasingly came to sit on the fence to wait for the start of earnings announcements next week chiefly by retailers and other Japanese services firms.

On the TSE first section, gainers outnumbered decliners 1,494 to 624, while 72 issues were unchanged. Volume fell to 972 million shares from Friday’s 1.002 billion shares.

Besides Nikkei heavyweights, financial stocks, including mega-bank Sumitomo Mitsui Financial and insurer Dai-ichi Life, attracted avid purchases due to a rise in U.S. long-term interest rates.

Mitsui O.S.K. Lines shot up 5.70% to snap its three-session losing streak after the shipping firm revised up its ordinary and net profit estimates for the year that ended in March.

Among other major winners were auto parts supplier Denso and technology and entertainment giant Sony.

On the other hand, Hitachi succumbed to selling, following news reports that Mizuho Bank is considering demanding the electronics maker pay compensation for a recent series of glitches in the bank’s automated teller machine system.

Automaker Suzuki and soy sauce producer Kikkoman also fell.

In index futures trading on the Osaka Exchange, the key June contract on the Nikkei average advanced 150 points to end at 30,080.

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