Japan's Nikkei records highest post-quake close

Agence France-Presse

Posted at Jul 06 2011 03:27 PM | Updated as of Jul 06 2011 11:27 PM

TOKYO, Japan - Japan's Nikkei index closed above 10,000 points on Wednesday to mark its highest finish since March 11 when an earthquake and tsunami devastated the northeast coast and triggered a nuclear crisis.

The headline Nikkei-225 index at the Tokyo Stock Exchange finished up 1.10 percent, or 110.02 points, at 10,082.48. It was the first finish above the key 10,000 level since May 2.

The Topix index of all first-section issues finished up 8.33 points, or 0.96 percent, at 873.51.

Wednesday's finish marked the seventh consecutive day of gains for the Tokyo bourse, a winning streak that dealers say reflects the ability of Japanese firms to return to normal at a faster rate than anticipated following the disasters that hammered production and supply chains.

Data last week showed industrial output rose in May at its fastest pace since 1953.

Investors are also cautiously hoping key US jobs data on Friday confirms that previous worries about the US economy were too much, said dealers.

"Excessive concerns about the US economic slowdown are subsiding, but the concerns are still there, so investors want to confirm US jobs data," said Yutaka Miura, a senior technical analyst at Mizuho Securities.

Closely watched US job data for June is due out Friday.

Industrial robot maker Fanuc gained 1.93 percent to 14,250 yen following firm figures on US factory goods orders and high expectations for Thursday's machinery orders data in Japan.

US stock markets were mixed but mostly lower on Tuesday, giving up some of the ground they gained during a strong five-day rally last week.

Europe's debt worries weighed on global markets after Moody's ratings agency downgraded Portugal to junk status a day after Standard & Poor's warned that proposals aimed at helping Greece with a new bailout could still amount to a selective default.

Tokyo Electric Power Co. gained 0.96 percent at 417 yen and Panasonic rose 3.3 percent to 1,031 yen.

Nippon Paper Group added 5.17 percent to 1,910 yen on a Nikkei report that its core unit Nippon Paper Industries is seeking to hike shipment prices of mainstay paper products by at least 10 percent from September, the first rise in three years.