Tokyo stocks rise to three-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 0.31 percent to close at a three-month high on Monday following another record-setting Wall Street advance driven by a solid US jobs report.

The benchmark Nikkei 225 index added 46.76 points to 15,124.00, its best finish since March 11, while the Topix index of all first-section shares edged up 0.02 percent, or 0.21 points, to 1,234.78.

Traders cheered a report from the US Labor Department Friday showed more than 200,000 jobs were created for the fourth straight month in May, the latest data to indicate the world's number one economy is getting back on track.

The news sent US shares surging.

The Dow climbed 0.52 percent and the S&P 500 jumped 0.46 percent, both ending at record highs.

The tech-rich Nasdaq added 0.59 percent to close at its best level since mid-March.

Just before the Tokyo market opened Monday, revised figures showed the Japanese economy saw its strongest expansion in more than two years during the first quarter of 2013.

The world's number-three economy grew 1.6 percent in January-March, slightly faster than an initial estimate of 1.5 percent.

“The US jobs number and (Japanese growth) revision are a help, but the fact that long-term US Treasury rates did not receive a big boost is holding the dollar - and therefore stocks - back,” Kenichi Hirano, market analyst at Tachibana Securities, told Dow Jones Newswires.

The dollar-yen rate affects the profitability of Japanese exporters and tends to influence movement of their shares.

On currency markets, the greenback bought 102.40 yen, compared with 102.50 yen in New York Friday afternoon.

Other data published Monday showed Japan's current account surplus in April narrowed by 76.1 percent from a year earlier to 187.4 billion yen ($1.8 billion).

Japan maintained a surplus in the current account, the broadest measure of the nation's trade with the rest of the world, for the third consecutive month, but it was much smaller than the expected 300 billion yen.

Sony rose 0.91 percent to 1,658 yen on news that it has topped worldwide sales of video game consoles for the first time in eight years.

Toyota gained 0.15 percent to 5,878 yen while Panasonic jumped 2.71 percent to 1,171 yen. - Sapa-AFP

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