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Tokyo: Stocks open 0.47% higher

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[TOKYO] Tokyo stocks opened 0.47 per cent higher on Monday after robust US jobs data boosted the dollar above 121 yen, which benefits Japanese exporters.

The Nikkei 225 index at the Tokyo Stock Exchange, which closed at a fresh seven-year high on Friday, added 84.21 points to 18,004.66 at the start.

It was the firs time since July 2007 that the benchmark index topped 18,000 during intraday trade.

Investors shrugged off poor Japanese government data released early Monday that showed the economy contracted more than initially thought in the July-September quarter.

The world's third largest economy contracted 0.5 per cent quarter-on-quarter, worse than the 0.4 per cent shrinkage in a preliminary report released three weeks ago, the Cabinet Office said.

The dollar held up after data Friday showed the US economy pumped out 321,000 jobs in November in its best monthly performance for job creation in nearly three years.

"The scale of the improvement in the employment figures was a positive surprise to just about everyone," said Morgan Stanley MUFG Securities senior equity strategist Norihiro Fujito.

"Fund managers are now guessing how soon the US Fed will start ratcheting up interest rates, which is helping to fuel the dollar's continued ascent," he told Dow Jones Newswires.

The dollar was at 121.57 yen early Monday compared with 121.44 yen in New York Friday afternoon.

The euro bought US$1.2290 and 149.52 yen against US$1.2283 and 149.16 yen in US trade Friday.

The Dow and the S&P 500 climbed modestly to fresh record highs Friday on the stronger-than-expected US jobs report.

AFP