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TOKYO: Tokyo stocks ended sharply higher on Friday following gains in US tech stocks, with the key Nikkei index almost touching 40,000 for the first time.

The benchmark Nikkei 225 advanced 1.9 percent, or 744.63 points, to close at 39,910.82, while the broader Topix index added 1.3 percent, or 33.69 points, to 2,709.42.

The dollar stood at 150.40 yen, compared with 149.93 yen on Thursday in New York.

On Wall Street overnight, optimism surrounding artificial intelligence encouraged buyers, while US inflation data met the market’s expectations.

“In Japan’s market too, high-priced, semiconductor-linked shares were bought, pushing up the Nikkei index,” IwaiCosmo Securities said. Nikkei’s upswings have kept Tokyo investors waiting on tenterhooks all day for a potential record close topping 40,000, but the market ended shy of reaching that threshold.

Expectations for chip-linked stocks related to generative AI, firmness of the US economy and continued dollar strength against the yen have all contributed to Nikkei’s upward momentum since last year. Among major shares in Tokyo, SoftBank Group added 1.3 percent to 8,907 yen, Sony Group rallied 2.1 percent to 13,215 yen and Toyota climbed 1.6 percent to 3,680 yen. Chip-testing equipment maker Advantest spiked 3.0 percent to 7,119 yen.

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Irshad Mar 04, 2024 03:47am
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