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Nikkei hits 7-month high as concerns over US economy ease

This file photo shows the Tokyo Stock Exchange on Oct. 2, 2020. (Mainichi)

TOKYO (Kyodo) -- The Nikkei index hit a nearly seven-month high Friday morning as concerns over inflation in the U.S. economy receded following weak economic data.

    The 225-issue Nikkei Stock Average rose 660.66 points, or 2.37 percent, from Wednesday to 28,479.99. The broader Topix index was up 35.37 points, or 1.83 percent, at 1,969.02. Japanese financial markets were closed Thursday for a national holiday.

    On the top-tier Prime Market, gainers were led by precision instrument, electric appliance, and oil and coal product issues.

    In the currency market, the U.S. dollar was firm in the lower 133 yen range following an overnight rise in long-term U.S. Treasury yields.

    At noon, the dollar fetched 133.44-45 yen compared with 132.92-133.02 yen in New York at 5 p.m. Thursday.

    The euro was quoted at $1.0309-0313 and 137.56-63 yen against $1.0314-0324 and 137.34-44 yen in New York late Thursday afternoon.

    Stocks gained sharply from the outset, tracking overnight gains in the Dow index, as weaker-than-expected U.S. consumer and producer price indexes for July eased inflation concerns, brokers said.

    "Weak data fanned expectations that inflation has peaked in the United States and that the Federal Reserve, therefore, will not raise interest rates aggressively," said Maki Sawada, a strategist in Nomura Securities Co.'s investment content department.

    The benchmark Nikkei at one point rose to a level not seen since Jan. 18, buoyed partly by buying in energy shares after the International Energy Agency raised its outlook for oil demand in 2022, citing soaring oil use for power generation purposes.

    Refiners Cosmo Energy Holdings gained 145 yen, or 3.7 percent, to 4,045 yen, Eneos Holdings climbed 15.3 yen, or 3.1 percent, to 513.1 yen, and Idemitsu Kosan went up 50 yen, or 1.4 percent, to 3,585 yen.

    Investors also bought back technology shares following their falls earlier in the week.

    Advantest was up 310 yen, or 3.8 percent, at 8,430 yen and Screen Holdings was ahead 400 yen, or 4.2 percent, at 9,870 yen.

    SoftBank Group surged 365 yen, or 6.9 percent, to 5,680 yen after the company said Thursday it will cut its stake in China's Alibaba Group Holding Ltd. to increase its cash reserves.

    Among Prime Market issues, advancing issues outnumbered decliners 1,603 to 208, while 26 ended the morning unchanged.

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