Tokyo stocks back at pre-Lehman shock level

Tokyo stocks closed 2.64 percent higher Friday, recovering to levels seen before the 2008 collapse of Lehman Brothers that heralded the beginning of the global economic crisis.

The benchmark Nikkei 225 index ended up 315.54 points to 12,283.62, while the Topix index of all first-section shares added 1.61 percent, or 16.15 points, to 1,020.50.

Shares closed higher for the seventh straight day in Tokyo, given a fillip as the dollar climbed to 95.35 yen in Tokyo trade, from 94.83 yen in New York late Thursday.

The euro was trading at $1.3091 and 124.83 yen, against $1.3107 and 124.28 yen.

The yen weakened partly because investors anticipated more aggressive monetary policy from the Bank of Japan, which will be headed by a new governor this month, dealers said.

"Buying is primarily yen-driven, however, investors aren't clamouring for exporter shares as before," Tachibana Securities market analyst Kenichi Hirano told Dow Jones Newswires.

"Many see the market as bought up to the point that weak yen-based earnings improvements are near fully priced in; thus further rises based solely on this logic may be progressively more difficult to realise," he added.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average ended at an all-time high for a third day in a row on Thursday, adding 0.23 percent to 14,329.49.

Buying sentiment was helped by data showing jobless claims had fallen a day after figures showed a rise in jobs growth in the private sector.

In Tokyo technology exporters were mostly higher, with Advantest climbing 4.55 percent to 1,400 yen.

GS Yuasa, supplier of lithium-ion batteries to Boeing's troubled 787 Dreamliner, surged 6.40 percent to 465 yen, as US safety regulators said Thursday they are still looking for what exactly caused a battery fire on a Japan Airlines 787.