Tokyo stocks close at two-month high

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JapanBrokerage REUTERS A man looks at his watch as he passes an electronic board displaying a graph of currency rates outside a brokerage in Tokyo.

Tokyo - Tokyo stocks rose 0.66 percent Tuesday on a weaker yen and continued advances on Wall Street, with the benchmark index finishing above 15,000 for the first time in two months.

The Nikkei 225 index added 98.33 points to end at 15,034.25, its first close above 15,000 since April 4, while the Topix index of all first-section shares climbed 0.67 percent, or 8.12 points, to 1,228.59.

The Tokyo market won support from the weaker yen, which boosts exporters' profitability, and hopes for Prime Minister Shinzo Abe's economic reform package.

Abe is expected to announce a new slate of policies in June to stoke growth in the world's third largest economy, while the Japanese public pension fund is widely expected to boost the portion of stocks in its huge portfolio, a plus for the Tokyo market.

“The relative resilience of US stocks, as well as a stronger dollar, are a simple formula for Japan share buying,” Yutaka Miura, senior technical analyst at Mizuho Securities, told Dow Jones Newswires.

“But we need to see a significant pickup in trading volume in order to have faith that the market will not succumb to quick capital flight. That's really been the 'missing link' in the current rally.”

The Nikkei's break through the 15,000 mark came as the dollar strengthened to 102.30 yen Tuesday, down slightly from 102.36 yen New York but well up from 102.02 yen in Tokyo on Monday.

Toyota shares added 0.56 percent to 5,855 yen, Uniqlo clothing chain operator Fast Retailing rose 1.47 percent to 34,990 yen while Sony turned down 0.66 percent to 1,643 yen.

Dai-ichi Life Insurance added 0.97 percent to 1,447 yen after the stock dropped 4.97 percent on Monday.

The tumble followed a report by the leading Nikkei business daily that said the company was considering issuing new shares to buy Protective Life, a mid-sized US life insurance firm, for about $5.0 billion.

In New York the Dow and S&P 500 Monday again rose to record highs following a solid report on US manufacturing activity.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average advanced 0.16 percent to 16,743.63, while the S&P 500 added 0.07 percent to 1,924.97.

Both indices notched closing records for the third straight session. - Sapa-AFP



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