Buoyed by a strong close on Wall Street overnight and on reports about the failure of North Korea's rocket launch, the Japanese market opened on a rousing note on Friday. A slew of Chinese data, including GDP, due to be released a short while from now may have some impact on trading. The Chinese first quarter GDP is set to slow to 8.4 percent, as export growth and domestic demand slackens.
With stocks moving higher on sustained buying interest, the market is gaining in strength, resulting in the benchmark Nikkei 225 index surging past the 9,650 mark.
At 9,677, the Nikkei is currently up 152.2 points or 1.6 percent from its previous close, as it advances for the second straight session following a 7-session loss.
Steel, non-ferrous metals, textiles, oil and financial stocks are mostly up with strong gains. Electric power, gas and retail stocks are trading mixed.
Shares of Fast Retailing Co. are up nearly 8 percent following the company forecasting a record profit.
Amada Co. shares are trading 6.5 percent up. Fanuc Corp, Dai-ichi Life Insurance, Nomura Holdings, Unitika, Fuji Electric, Taiyo Yuden, Mitsubishi UFJ Financial, Furukawa Electric and Credit Saison are up 3 to 4 percent.
Japan Tobacco, Konica Minolta, Yokogawa Electric, Dainippon Screen, TDK Corp, Aozora Bank, Advantest, Mitsubishi Materials and Mizuho Financial are all trading higher by 2.3 to 3 percent.
Among automobile stocks, Honda Motor, Nissan Motor and Toyota Motor are up 1.2 to 1.5 percent. Mitsubishi Motor, Suzuki Motor, Hino Motors and Isuzu Motors are up marginally.
Meanwhile, Sony Corp, Dai Nippon Printing, Sapporo Holdings, Panasonic Corp, Yamaha Corp, Nippon Kayaku, Chugai Pharmaceuticals, Nippon Soda and Aeon are trading in negative territory, losing 1 to 4 percent.
In the currency market, the U.S. dollar traded slightly below 81 yen in early deals in Tokyo. The yen is still hovering around that level, quoting at 80.96 to the U.S. dollar.
Among other markets in the Asia-Pacific region, Australia, Hong Kong, Singapore, Taiwan and South Korea are trading notably higher, while Shanghai, Malaysia and New Zealand are up marginally.
On Wall Street, stocks moved higher on Thursday with traders reacting positively to a report from the Commmerce Department that showed a narrower than expected U.S. trade deficit.
The major averages ended near their best levels of the day. The Dow jumped 181.2 points or 1.4 percent to 12,986.6, the Nasdaq moved up 39.1 points or 1.3 percent to 3,055.1 and the S&P 500 soared 18.9 points or 1.4 percent to 1,387.6.
Major European markets also ended on a firm note on Thursday. While the U.K.'s FTSE 100 index advanced by 1.3 percent, the French CAC 40 index and the German DAX index both moved up by 1 percent.
U.S. crude oil futures surged higher on Thursday amid hopes of further monetary stimulus for the economy and on strong equity markets. Light, sweet crude oil futures for May delivery gained $0.94 or 0.9 percent to close at $103.64 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange.
by RTT Staff Writer
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