* Nikkei breaks 20,000 for first time since Dec 2015
* Financials, exporters in demand
By Ayai Tomisawa
TOKYO, June 2 Japan's Nikkei share average broke
through the 20,000-point barrier for the first time since
December 2015 on Friday after a batch of strong U.S. economic
data lifted Wall Street and the U.S. currency against the yen.
The Nikkei swept through 20,000 in early trade
making a 1.3 percent advance to 20,115.23, its highest level
since August 2015. The index was poised to post weekly gains of
The threshold of "20,000 is a big technical and
psychological level for traders, so we should be not be
surprised if we see some resistance at this level," said Gavin
Parry, managing director at Parry International Trading Ltd.
Traders added that when there is a recovery seen in the
global environment, there is a greater focus on Japan Inc.
earnings which saw profit growth of 16 percent in the fiscal
year through March.
"Japanese stocks would have risen to this level earlier if
we did not see global risks and the rising yen," said Norihiro
Fujito, a senior investment strategist at Mitsubishi UFJ Morgan
But U.S. political turmoil could unnerve investors next week
again, Fujito said, as former FBI Director James Comey will
testify next Thursday before a U.S. Senate panel investigating
Russia's alleged meddling in the 2016 U.S. election, in a
hearing that could add to difficulties facing President Donald
"The market is worried that the allegations against Trump
over his interference with a federal investigation would delay
his efforts on tax cuts and economic policy," Fujito said,
adding that there is also a risk that the dollar will fall
against the yen, hurting Japanese stocks.
Cyclical sectors were pushed up by recovering risk
appetites, with financials and exporters outperforming. Nomura
Holdings jumped 4.7 percent, Mitsubishi UFJ Financial
Group soared 3.1 percent, while insurer T&D Holdings
surged 3.6 percent. Subaru Corp added 3.3
percent and Kyocera Corp advanced 2.7 percent.
The dollar gained 0.2 percent at 111.560 yen after
rising to 111.580, its highest since May 26.
The broader Topix advanced 1.1 percent to 1,603.08
and the JPX-Nikkei Index 400 gained 1.1 percent to
(Editing by Simon Cameron-Moore)