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Tokyo: Shares at 3.5 month high as US data boosts recovery hopes

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[SYDNEY] Japanese stocks climbed to a fresh 3.5 month high on Monday after a surprise increase in US employment gave investors further confidence of a swift global economic recovery from a coronavirus-triggered slump.

The benchmark Nikkei average advanced 1.4 per cent to 23,178.10 points, its highest closing level since Feb 21.

All three major indices on the Wall Street gained more than 2 per cent on Friday, after the May employment report showed the US economy unexpectedly added 2.5 million jobs last month, providing evidence that it was headed for a quicker-than-anticipated recovery.

Reflecting continued confidence in the revival of the global economy, the safe-haven yen weakened further, with the dollar/yen hitting a 2.5 month high of 109.85 yen late on Friday.

As a weaker yen boosts Japanese manufacturers' profits made abroad when repatriated, shares of export-oriented carmakers were in demand, with Nissan and Mazda jumping 7.8 per cent and 5.7 per cent, respectively.

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Longer-term US Treasury yields surged on Friday, providing a tailwind for Tokyo-listed financial stocks. Dai-ichi Life Holdings climbed 6.5 per cent and Mitsubishi UFJ Financial Group added 4.5 per cent.

Elsewhere, oil-related companies were higher as oil prices advanced after the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries, Russia and allies agreed on Saturday to extend record oil production cuts until the end of July.

Japan's top oil and gas exploration companies Inpex and Japan Petroleum Exploration gained 5.1 per cent and 3.8 per cent, respectively, while oil wholesalers JXTG Holdings and Idemitsu Kosan Showa Shell surged 2.7 per cent and 3.0 per cent, respectively.

The broader Topix rose 1.1 per cent to 1,630.72, its highest closing since Feb 21, with all but three of the 33 sector sub-indices on the Tokyo exchange finishing higher.

The market, however, did not react to Japan's revised GDP (gross domestic product) data that showed a slightly stronger-than-expected capital expenditure. 

REUTERS

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