Tokyo stocks close up

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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 closed 0.27 percent higher on Thursday, tracking gains on Wall Street, with investors moving in for bargains following the previous day's sell-off.

The benchmark Nikkei 225 index gained 41.88 points to 15,308.49 following a 0.71 percent decline the previous day.

The Topix index of all first-section issues advanced 0.21 percent, or 2.60 points, to 1,263.43.

However, the market was hindered by a flagging dollar, after a downward revision of first-quarter economic growth.

“The Nikkei hasn't seen two consecutive negative days in over a month, which is a tribute to the domestic and foreign investor support it now enjoys,” said Tachibana Securities market analyst Kenichi Hirano.

“While US economic growth is a fundamental worry, it's not a big concern yet for US stocks, and thus Japan shares probably won't be harmed too badly,” he told Dow Jones Newswires.

Among individual stocks, e-commerce giant Rakuten jumped 2.90

percent to 1,309 yen on media reports that it will enter the air travel business by allying with Asia's biggest budget carrier, Malaysia-based AirAsia.

Toyota rose 0.82 percent to 6,006 yen while Sony ended flat at 1,703 yen.

Tokyo Electric Power, which runs the crippled Fukushima nuclear plant, rose 0.47 percent to 421 yen as proposals to abandon atomic power were rejected at its shareholders' meeting.

US stocks finished higher Wednesday despite a US Commerce Department report showing the economy shrank 2.9 percent in January-March, far greater than the 1.0 percent previously estimated and the sharpest fall since the 2008-2009 recession.

The Dow added 0.29 percent, while the S&P 500 rose 0.49 percent.

The dollar was changing hands at 101.74 yen in Tokyo afternoon trade, marginally down from 101.86 yen in New York Wednesday afternoon. - Sapa-AFP

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