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Tokyo: Stocks close higher for fifth day

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[TOKYO] Tokyo stocks closed higher for a fifth day on Thursday, extending rallies on Wall Street that toasted a speech by Federal Reserve boss Jerome Powell hinting at a slower pace of rate hikes.

The benchmark Nikkei 225 index added 0.39 per cent, or 85.58 points, to end at 22,262.60, while the broader Topix index was up 0.35 per cent, or 5.81 points, at 1,659.47.

"Japanese shares are seen rising, encouraged by rallies in US shares," Toshiyuki Kanayama, senior market analyst, said in a commentary.

Powell told the New York Economic Club that rates were still historically low but only "just below" the estimate of neutral -- a rate that neither stimulates nor restrains the economy.

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"This was a material change from his view in October when he noted that 'we may go past neutral, but we're a long way from neutral at this point, probably'," Rodrigo Catril, senior strategist at National Australia Bank, said in a note.

"Powell's remarks elicited a risk-positive market reaction as they appear to suggest a softening in his stance in terms of what might be the future pace of policy tightening," he said.

The dollar fetched 113.30 yen in early Asian trade, against 113.58 yen in New York and 113.86 yen in Tokyo late Wednesday.

In Tokyo share trading, Nintendo jumped 4.05 per cent to 34,860 yen after it said its US revenues from Thanksgiving on Cyber Monday were more than US$250 million thanks to brisk sales of its Switch hardware.

Nissan climbed 1.35 per cent to 984.7 yen after two days of losses and ahead of an expected three-way meeting of the Renault-Nissan-Mitsubishi alliance.

Mitsubishi Motors was up 0.28 per cent at 692 yen.

Keyence, which makes sensors and measuring instruments, edged up 0.38 per cent to 61,520 yen while electronic parts maker Rohm rose 1.40 per cent to 7,950 yen.

AFP