Japanese stocks rose ahead of a weekend election as the yen weakened against the dollar and the U.S. reported the biggest jump in retail sales in eight months.
The Topix index advanced 0.1 percent to 1,398.35 as of 9:04 a.m. in Tokyo, paring this weeks loss to 3.3 percent. The Nikkei 225 Stock Average rose 0.5 percent to 17,344.64. The yen lost 0.3 percent to 119.01 per dollar after falling 0.7 percent yesterday as data showed U.S. consumers spent more in November than expected. Crude oil fell below $60 a barrel for the first time since 2009.
Japan heads for an election on Dec. 14 after Prime Minister Shinzo Abe last month called for a referendum on his economic policies. The economy has been mired in a recession since an April sales-tax increase.
Abes coalition will win more than a two-thirds majority, the Nikkei newspaper reported today, citing a survey result and echoing almost every other media forecast in pointing to a landslide victory.