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Japanese Market Notably Higher

The Japanese stock market is notably higher on Friday as U.S. stocks closed at record highs overnight after lawmakers certified President-elect Joe Biden's victory. Expectations about additional U.S. stimulus spending also lifted the market.

The benchmark Nikkei 225 Index is rising 387.26 points or 1.41 percent to 27,877.39, after touching a high of 27,921.97. Japanese stocks hit a 30-year high on Thursday.

Market heavyweight SoftBank Group is adding 0.7 percent and Fast Retailing is rising more than 2 percent. In the tech space, Tokyo Electron and Advantest are gaining more than 3 percent each.

The major exporters are modestly higher on a weaker yen. Sony, Mitsubishi Electric, Canon and Panasonic are higher in a range of 0.1 percent to 0.5 percent.

Among automakers, Toyota is adding 0.6 percent and Honda is edging up 0.1 percent. In the banking sector, Mitsubishi UFJ Financial is rising more than 1 percent and Sumitomo Mitsui Financial is higher by almost 1 percent.

Among the other major gainers, Oki Electric is climbing more than 7 percent and Oji Holdings is rising almost 6 percent. Bridgestone Corp. and Fujifilm Holdings are higher by almost 5 percent each.

Conversely, Olympus Corp. is losing almost 3 percent, while Kubota Corp., Nissan Motor and Ricoh Co. are all lower by more than 2 percent each.

In economic news, the Ministry of Internal Affairs and Communications said that the average of household spending in Japan was up 1.1 percent on year in November, coming in at 278,718 yen. That beat expectations for a decline of 1.5 percent following the 1.9 percent increase in October.

Japan will also see preliminary November numbers for its coincident index today.

In the currency market, the U.S. dollar is trading in the upper 103 yen-range on Friday.

On Wall Street, stocks closed at new record highs on Thursday as U.S. lawmakers certified President-elect Joe Biden's victory and as the Democrats won Georgia's Senate runoff elections, giving Democrats control of the House, Senate and the White House. Traders seem optimistic a Democratic-controlled government will lead to additional stimulus. Buying interest was also generated in reaction to a report from the Labor Department unexpectedly showing a modest decrease in first-time claims for U.S. unemployment benefits in the week ended January 2.

The Nasdaq spiked 326.69 points or 2.6 percent to 13,067.48, while the Dow climbed 211.73 points or 0.7 percent to 31,041.13 and the S&P 500 jumped 55.65 points or 1.5 percent to 3,803.79.

The major European markets also moved to the upside on Thursday. While the U.K.'s FTSE 100 Index inched up by 0.1 percent, the German DAX Index is up by 0.7 percent and the French CAC 40 Index is up by 0.8 percent.

Crude oil futures ended higher on Thursday, extending gains to a third straight session, with the recent data showing a drop in stockpiles continuing to support prices. WTI crude for February ended up $0.20 or about 0.4 percent at $50.83 a barrel.

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