TOKYO: Tokyo stocks jumped 2.07 percent on Monday to close at a two-month high as the yen sank in currency trading and upbeat China manufacturing data boosted investor sentiment.
The benchmark Nikkei 225 index added 303.54 points to finish at 14,935.92, its highest close since April 4. The Nikkei is still down about 8.0 percent on the year.
The Topix index of all first-section shares climbed 1.59 percent, or 19.06 points, to 1,220.47.
Upbeat China data boosted sentiment as the weekend figures showed manufacturing activity strengthening to a five-month high in May, an optimistic sign amid slumping growth in the world's second-largest economy.
Tokyo also got a lift from the Dow and S&P 500 closing at new highs on Friday following fresh merger and acquisition activity.
"The China data are encouraging futures trading, which is leading the market higher," Yoshihiro Okumura, general manager at Chibagin Asset Management, told Dow Jones Newswires.
Speculation that the Japanese public pension fund would soon announce plans to boost the portion of stocks in its huge portfolio also helped drive gains, dealers said.
Exporter shares won support from a weaker yen, which inflates their profitability, with the dollar fetching 102.02 yen compared with 101.75 yen in New York Friday afternoon.
Sony shares rose 1.65 percent to 1,654 yen, Toyota gained 1.05 percent to 5,822 yen while Nikon added 2.23 percent to 1,648 yen.
Dai-ichi Life Insurance bucked the upward trend with its shares down 4.97 percent to close at 1,433 yen after the leading Nikkei business daily said the company was considering issuing new shares to buy Protective Life, a mid-sized US life insurance firm.
Japanese media pegged the value of the takeover at nearly $5.0 billion.
In New York, the Dow Jones Industrial Average advanced 0.11 percent to 16,717.17, setting a fresh record, while the S&P 500 advanced 0.18 percent to 1,923.57, notching a record for the second straight day. (AFP)