Japanese stocks rose, with the Topix index heading for a second weekly gain, after the yen weakened as U.S. jobs data and earnings boosted confidence in the outlook for the world™s biggest economy.
The Topix added 0.9 percent to 1,426.05 as of 9:01 a.m. in Tokyo, headed for gains of 1.6 percent this week and 1.3 percent in January. All of its 33 industry groups advanced. The Nikkei 225 Stock Average rose 1 percent to 17,778.26. The yen traded at 117.24 per dollar after falling 0.6 percent yesterday.
Futures on the Standard & Poor™s 500 Index were little changed. The underlying gauge added 1 percent yesterday as investors scrutinized earnings for clues to the strength of the U.S. economy. Dow Chemical Co. added 4.6 percent and Harman International Industries Inc. surged 24 percent as profits topped estimates.
Applications for unemployment insurance benefits in the U.S. plunged by 43,000 to 265,000 in the week ended Jan. 24, the fewest since April 2000, according to the Labor Department. The Bloomberg index of consumer comfort climbed in the seven-day period ended Jan. 25 to the highest level since July 2007.
A government report today showed Japan™s core consumer prices rose 2.5 percent in December from a year earlier, less than the median projection of 2.6 percent in a Bloomberg News survey of economists. Another report showed industrial production increased 1 percent in December from November, below economists™ estimates for 1.2 percent.