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Tokyo stocks 0.48% higher by break

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(Globalpost/GlobalPost)

Tokyo stocks were 0.48 percent higher on Monday morning, on the back of lingering optimism over a sharp rally on Wall Street which pushed close to new records.

The benchmark Nikkei 225 index added 54.03 points to 11,245.37 by the break, while the broader Topix index of all first-section shares climbed 1.07 percent, or 10.08 points, to 952.73.

"The external positives, including the currency and US stock movements, underscore the increasing confidence in the US economic recovery," Hiroichi Nishi, general manager of equity at SMBC Nikko Securities, told Dow Jones Newswires.

US stocks rallied sharply on Friday, with the Dow closing above 14,000 for the first time since October 2007 following a positive US jobs report.

The blue-chip index ended 1.08 percent higher at 14,009.79, close to its all-time high of 14,164.53 on October 9, 2007.

A monthly US jobs report showed employers added 157,000 jobs in January, fewer than expected, and the jobless rate inched up to 7.9 percent.

But revised data for all of 2012 heartened markets, with net job growth at an average of 181,000 a month, up from a prior estimate of 153,000.

In Tokyo stock trading, Japan's embattled electronics giants jumped with Panasonic soaring nearly 17 percent by the lunch break as investors reacted to the company's latest earnings.

Panasonic jumped 16.89 percent to 692 yen, following the company's announcement after the close of Friday's session that it posted an operating profit of 121.95 billion yen ($1.32 billion) in the nine months to December, and a 61.4 billion yen net profit in the last three months of 2012.

However, Panasonic also said it had a net loss of about $6.77 billion in the nine months to December and was on track to lose a whopping $8.3 billion over its fiscal year to March, after posting a record loss in the previous year.

Sony, which reports earnings this week, jumped 9.44 percent to 1,483 yen.

Sharp was up 7.90 percent to 355 yen by the break, after the struggling maker of Aquos-brand electronics offered a glimmer of hope on Friday, saying it eked out a small operating profit in its October-December quarter.

On currency markets, the euro weakened to $1.3624 and 126.33 yen against $1.3637 and 126.60 yen in New York trading on Friday.

The dollar inched down to 92.68 yen against 92.80 yen in US trade.

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