Tokyo shares close higher

TOKYO (AFP): Tokyo stocks advanced Thursday on the back of Wall Street gains.
The benchmark Nikkei 225 index added 0.88 percent, or 285.88 points, to 32,619.34, making the four-day winning streak. The broader Topix index rose 0.80 percent, or 18.62 points, to 2,332.00, drawing closer to renewing the high for the year.

Investor sentiment improved after US stocks rose while fresh Chinese data also came out slightly better than expected, IwaiCosmo Securities said in a note.
The Nikkei’s rise above the psychologically important 32,500 mark also encouraged more buyers to push the index higher, the brokerage said.

“Recent strength of Tokyo shares has encouraged buying particularly from foreign investors,” Chihiro Ota of SMBC Nikko Securities.

China’s production activity data slightly contracted but showed an improvement from the past and came out better than the market’s expectation.

“It improved the market’s spirit,” IwaiCosmo said. Overnight, Wall Street closed higher as US private sector hiring data came in softer than expected, while second-quarter GDP growth was revised down to 2.1% on an annual measure.

This reinforced hopes that the US Federal Reserve may take its foot off the pedal with interest rates.

Among major shares, Toyota rose 2.38 percent to 2,515 yen after a report said the automaker set an annual production target of its Toyota Lexus brand at around 1,020 vehicles for this year, a record high number.

Nissan added 0.75 percent to 620.8 yen. Honda rose 1.12 percent to 4,703.
Seven & i Holdings was up 0.88 percent at 5,981 yen as it sold its department store business to a US fund. The union at Seibu Ikebukoro store in Tokyo staged a rare strike in response to the sale.

Nintendo rose 0.77 percent to 6,267 yen. Sony Group added 0.91 percent to 12,145 yen.

Uniqlo operator Fast Retailing added 1.39 percent at 33,480 yen.
The dollar fetched 145.84 yen, against 146.23 yen in New York late Wednesday.