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Japanese Market Extending Gains

Japanese stock market is higher on Monday, extending gains of the previous two sessions, with the Nikkei 225 breaking above the 30,000 level to three-week highs. The cues from Wall Street on Thursday were broadly positive on upbeat jobs and manufacturing data.

The benchmark Nikkei 225 Index is gaining 245.98 points or 0.82 percent to 30,099.98, after touching a high of 30,195.00 earlier. Japanese shares ended sharply higher on Friday.

Market heavyweight SoftBank Group is up more than 1 percent and Uniqlo operator Fast Retailing is adding almost 3 percent. Among automakers, Honda is gaining almost 1 percent, while Toyota is flat.

The major exporters are also higher. Panasonic is edging down 0.4 percent, while Mitsubishi Electric is edging up 0.1 percent. Sony and Canon are edging up 0.4 percent each.

In the tech space, Advantest and Screen Holdings are gaining more than 2 percent, while Tokyo Electron is adding almost 1 percent. In the banking sector, Sumitomo Mitsui Financial, Mizuho Financial and Mitsubishi UFJ Financial are gaining more than 2 percent each.

Among the other major gainers, Ebara Corp. is gaining almost 5 percent, while Mitsui OSK Lines and Marubeni are adding more than 3 percent each. Nippon Yusen, Kawasaki Kisen Kaisha, Toyo Seikan Group, Sumitomo Heavy Industries, Nippon Sheet Glass and Kyocera are up almost 3 percent each.

Conversely, Recruit Holdings and Hitachi are down more than 1 percent each, while Takeda, Japan Exchange Group, Kubota, Daikin, GS Yuasa, Suzuki Motor, Konica Minolta and Kansai Electric Power are losing almost 1 percent each.

In the currency market, the U.S. dollar is trading in the higher 110 yen-range on Monday.

On Wall Street, stocks opened higher on Thursday and gathered steam during trading as the day progressed, closing near daily highs. The rally by technology stocks in the NASDAQ reflected solid earnings news and a retreat by treasury yields.

The major averages accelerated to the upside going into the close. The Dow climbed 171.66 points or 0.52 percent to finish at 33,153.21, while the NASDAQ spiked 233.23 points or 1.76 percent to end at 13,480.11 and the S&P 500 jumped 46.98 points or 1.18 percent to close at 4,019.87.

The major European markets also moved to the upside on the day. While the U.K.'s FTSE 100 gained 0.35 percent, Germany's DAX surged up 0.66 percent and France's CAC 40 advanced 0.59 percent.

Crude oil prices moved sharply higher Thursday on news that OPEC has agreed to incremental increases in crude production for three months starting in May. West Texas Intermediate Crude oil futures for May ended higher by $2.29 or 3.9 percent at $61.45 a barrel.

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