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Japanese Market Rallies

The Japanese stock market is trading higher on Thursday, with investors indulging in some hectic buying on strong Wall Street cues and on hopes of further monetary easing by the central bank.

Automobile, financial, pharmaceuticals, real estate, chemicals, non-ferrous metals and textiles are mostly up with strong gains.

The benchmark Nikkei 225 index, which spurted to 11,492.8, is currently trading at 11,468, up 214 points or 1.9 percent from its previous close.

Mitsubishi Logistics Corp. and Tokyo Tatemono are trading higher by 6.5 percent and 6.3 percent, respectively. Tokyo Dome Corp., Toshiba Corp. and Sumitomo Electric Industries are up more than 5 percent. Komatsu Ltd. shares are up 5.5 thanks to better than expected results.

Mitsui Engineering & Shipbuilding, Nippon Sheet Glass, Hitachi Zosen, Fuji Heavy Industries, Sumitomo Realty & Development, Showa Denko KK, Yokohama Rubber, Canon Inc. (CAJ), Sony Corp. (SNE) and Konica Minolta Holdings are all trading higher by 3 to 5 percent.

Advantest Corp. (ATE), Sumitomo Heavy Industries, SMFG, Fast Retailing, Nippon Soda, Daiichi Sankyo and Hitachi Construction Machinery are also trading sharply higher.

Automobile stocks Toyota Motor (TM), Honda Motor (HMC), Isuzu Motors and Mazda Motor are trading higher by over 3 percent.

Among the few losers in the Nikkei index, Tokuyama Corp. is down 1.6 percent and Kubota Corp. is trading lower by 1.2 percent. Fujitsu, Aozora Bank and Shimizu Corp. are the other notable losers.

On the economic front, industrial production in Japan was up a seasonally adjusted 1.0 percent on month in January, the Ministry of economy, Trade and Industry said in Thursday's preliminary reading. That missed forecasts for an increase of 1.5 percent following the 2.4 percent gain in December.

On a yearly basis, industrial production was down 5.1 percent - also missing expectations for a decline of 4.9 percent following the 7.9 percent contraction in the previous month.

Upon the release of the data, the METI upgraded its assessment of industrial production, saying: "Industrial production has bottomed out and shows some signs of picking up."

In the currency market, the U.S. dollar traded in the lower 92 yen level in early deals in Tokyo. The yen is currently trading at 92.50 to the dollar.

Among other markets in the Asia-Pacific region, Australia, Hong Kong, Indonesia, New Zealand, Singapore and South Korea are all trading notably higher, while Shanghai and Malaysia are up marginally.

On Wall Street, stocks ended notably higher on Wednesday, buoyed by some upbeat data on durables goods sales orders and pending homes sales.

The Dow surged up 175.2 points or 1.3 percent to 14,075.4, its best closing level in over five years. The Nasdaq climbed 32.6 points or 1 percent to 3,162.3 and the S&P 500 jumped 19.1 points or 1.3 percent to 1,516.

Major European markets too ended on a high note Wednesday. While the French CAC 40 index surged up by 1.9 percent, the German DAX index and the U.K.'s FTSE 100 index jumped 1 percent and 0.9 percent, respectively.

U.S. crude oil settled marginally higher on Wednesday, on some upbeat macroeconomic data from the U.S. and Europe. Crude for April delivery ended up $0.13 or 0.1 percent at $92.76 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange.

by RTTNews Staff Writer

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