Nikkei closes above 24,000 for 1st time in 14 months

Tokyo stocks advanced sharply Friday, sending the benchmark Nikkei to the highest level in 14 months, on prospects for a near-term U.S.-China trade deal and a clearer path to Brexit with the governing Conservative Party's victory in the UK election.
The 225-issue Nikkei Stock Average ended up 598.29 points, or 2.55 percent, from Thursday at 24,023.10. The broader Topix index of all First Section issues on the Tokyo Stock Exchange finished 27.15 points, or 1.59 percent, higher at 1,739.98.
All industry categories gained, led by nonferrous metal, marine transportation and machinery issues.
Shares gained ground throughout the day after U.S. President Donald Trump on Thursday fueled optimism about a "phase-one" trade deal with China. It added to expectations that Washington would forego a fresh round of tariffs on Chinese products set to kick in on the weekend, brokers said.
Investor sentiment also improved as U.K. media reported Prime Minister Boris Johnson's Conservative Party secured a large majority in Parliament in the election held on Thursday, a result that helped ease uncertainty over whether the United Kingdom would leave the European Union in late January.
Those developments cleared away two major concerns for market participants and brought vigor to the equity market, brokers said.
"Concerns were eased one by one, boosting the markets," said Yutaka Miura, senior technical analyst at Mizuho Securities Co.
But he also said, "Positive trading cues have almost ran out," noting that the topside of the Nikkei will be heavy around the 24,000 line toward the end of the year, given uncertainty over how much the existing U.S. tariffs on Chinese imports would be reduced in a sign of approaching an end to their prolonged trade war.
Improved risk appetite also led to buying of the U.S. dollar against the safe-haven yen while prompting investors to sell Japanese government bonds, sending long-term interest rates higher.
Investors showed little reaction to the Bank of Japan' Tankan survey, released prior to the opening, that showed business sentiment among large Japanese manufacturers worsened in December compared with three months earlier for a fourth straight quarterly fall.
On the First Section, advancing issues outnumbered decliners 1,548 to 535, while 74 ended unchanged.
Exporters benefited from a weaker yen, with Toyota Motor advancing 183 yen, or 2.4 percent, to 7,811 yen and Sony rising 142 yen, or 1.9 percent, to 7,443 yen.
Financial issues also firmed, taking a cue from U.S. counterparts on hopes that rising U.S. bond yields will help boost profits. Mitsubishi UFJ Financial Group climbed 15.60 yen, or 2.7 percent, to 595.70 yen, while Dai-ichi Life Holdings jumped 64.00 yen, or 3.5 percent, to 1,872.50 yen.
Furniture retailer Otsuka Kagu, listed on the Jasdaq market, soared 80 yen, or 37.7 percent, to a daily limit of 292 yen after the company said Thursday it will become a subsidiary of Japanese electrical appliance store chain Yamada Denki Co. to turn around its business.
Trading volume on the main section rose to 1,935.74 million shares from Thursday's 1,144.42 million shares.

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