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 Tokyo stocks surge 0.66%, Nikkei 225 gains 114.18pts, Topix index up 0.19%

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PostSubject: Tokyo stocks surge 0.66%, Nikkei 225 gains 114.18pts, Topix index up 0.19%   Mon 15 Dec 2014, 3:19 pm

TOKYO: Tokyo stocks ended 0.66 per cent higher as lower yen hauled up exporters and a strong US retail sales report boosted shareholders sentiment.
The Nikkei 225 index at the Tokyo Stock Exchange gained 114.18 points to close at 17,371.58 on Friday, while the Topix index of all first-section issues was up 0.19 per cent, or 2.61 points, at 1,399.65.
The yen fell against the US dollar after the Commerce Department said US retail sales in November, when the holiday shopping season starts, rose 5.1 per cent over the year.
The figures are closely watched as consumer spending accounts for almost three quarters of output in the world’s biggest economy.
Also, jobless claims, a sign of the pace of layoffs, fell in the week to December 6.
The US dollar edged up to 118.86 yen, from 118.65 yen in New York and sharply higher than the mid-117 yen range seen earlier Thursday in Tokyo.
A weak yen is positive for Japanese exporters as it makes them more competitive abroad and inflates profits when they are repatriated.
The benchmark Nikkei lost nearly four per cent over the previous three days after hitting a new seven-year high on Monday.
“The recent three-day sell-off put stocks back in ‘affordable’ territory after valuations had started to look stretched,” said Hiroichi Nishi, general manager of equities at SMBC Nikko Securities.
He said there remained plenty of technical resistance at the 18,000 Nikkei level.But forthcoming data – including a US consumer sentiment survey for December later on Friday and a policy meeting of the US Federal Reserve next week – will be “critical to determining market direction”, he said.
While the results of Sunday’s snap election in Japan will be closely followed, no major changes affecting markets are expected, with Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s ruling coalition forecast to keep its grip on power, he said.
Abe’s pro-spending policy to stoke growth has boosted stocks and pushed the yen down.
Shares in Canon jumped 3.87 per cent to 3,954.5 yen as it announced a dividend hike on profit growth.
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