Japanese shares end at three-month high

Japanese shares end at three-month high

TOKYO - Agence France Presse
Japanese shares end at three-month high

A man gestures in front of a securities firm’s electronic stock board in Tokyo. AP photo

Tokyo stocks jumped 0.77 percent on Aug. 17 to closed at a three-month high after gains on Wall Street that were driven by fresh support for the euro from Germany and upbeat U.S. data.

The benchmark Nikkei 225 index at the Tokyo Stock Exchange added 69.74 points to 9,162.50, its highest close since May 8, as a weakening yen also fed buying appetite. Sentiment was buoyed by German Chancellor Angela Merkel who on Aug. 16 gave solid backing to European Central Bank chief Mario Draghi’s recent vow to do everything possible to defend the single currency.

Her comments helped lift Wall Street on Aug. 16, with the blue-chip Dow Jones Industrial Average finishing 0.65 percent higher at 13,250.11.

A weaker yen on the last trade day of the week also helped shares of Japanese exporters, who suffer when the currency is strong by making their products pricier overseas. The dollar crept above 79.40 yen in afternoon trade with some dealers eyeing the greenback to test 80 yen.

“While the stock market has been creeping higher as U.S. interest rates have picked up, a firm grasp on the 80 mark for dollar-yen is key for a viable Nikkei rally,” Investrust CEO Hiroyuki Fukunaga told Dow Jones Newswires.