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Nikkei rises on US optimism, hopes of ECB easing; Fast Retailing soars
January 9, 2015 / 2:37 AM / 3 years ago

Nikkei rises on US optimism, hopes of ECB easing; Fast Retailing soars

* Nikkei nears its 25-day moving average
    * Fast Retailing contributes hefty gains after strong 1Q
    * For the week, Nikkei is down 1.1 pct

    By Ayai Tomisawa
    TOKYO, Jan 9 (Reuters) - Japanese stocks extended their
gains into a third day on Friday morning after Wall Street
rallied on growing confidence in the U.S. economy, while hopes
of aggressive stimulus steps in Europe and a pause in sliding
oil prices bolstered sentiment.
    Adding to the improving mood, index-heavy Fast Retailing Co
 soared 3.1 percent and contributed a hefty 55 points to
the benchmark Nikkei index after reporting strong first quarter
profits. Goldman Sachs hiked its target price. 
    The Nikkei rose 0.5 percent to 17,255.33 at the
midday break after touching a high of 17,342,65 earlier, nearing
its 25-day moving average of 17,455.41. For the week, however,
it is still down 1.1 percent.
    Global stock markets suffered sharp losses earlier this week
as worries about global growth and falling oil prices dampened
risk sentiment. Oil prices enjoyed somewhat of a respite in the
past fee days, contributing to the uptick in risk appetite.
    Analysts said that some investors are probably beginning to
look beyond the negative risks.
    "Greece and weak oil prices have been the main worries, but
there is nothing new in terms of these risks. Whether it's the
Dow, the S&P, the Nikkei, or even Russian stocks and the rouble
have held above their December lows," said Hiroyuki Nakai, chief
strategist at Tokai Tokyo Research Center.
    For Japanese stocks, Nakai said that signs of a strong U.S.
economy and prospects of more stimulus from the European Central
Bank have triggered short-covering. Still, concerted demand may
occur only after Japanese companies start reporting their
Oct-Dec earnings later this month.
    In the U.S., initial claims for state unemployment benefits
slipped from the prior week, pointing to a firming labor market
ahead of Friday's key monthly payrolls report. 
    Exporters were up as the dollar stood at 119.79 yen,
extending its recovery from a low of 118.05 hit on Tuesday.
Honda Motor Co gained 1.1 percent and Sony Corp
 added 1.3 percent.
    The broader Topix added 0.3 percent to 1,381.25, and
the new JPX-Nikkei Index 400 gained 0.2 percent to

 (Editing by Shri Navaratnam)

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