* 20,000 milestone looms for both Nikkei and Dow
* Japan govt raises economic view, underpinning sentiment
TOKYO Dec 21 Japan's Nikkei share average edged
up to a one-year peak on Wednesday in thin trading ahead of the
holidays, tracking U.S. shares higher on expectations that U.S.
President-elect Donald Trump's policies will stoke growth and
The Nikkei ended morning trade 0.2 percent higher at
19,522.80. In the previous session, it finished at its highest
closing level since early December 2015, and was poised to set
"Buying of names boosted by yen weakness is enough to
overcome profit-taking by sellers, leading to a positive rise in
the Nikkei," said Hiroki Allen, chief representative of
Superfund Japan in Tokyo.
The dollar was slightly weaker on the day but remained close
to a 10-1/2-month high of 118.66 touched on Dec 15.
In addition to getting a tailwind from a recently weaker
yen, Japanese shares have also tracked U.S. shares, which have
surged on expectations that the incoming administration of
President-elect Trump will boost fiscal spending, growth and
"Volumes are low, so if you have a direction for a momentum
trade like we have, it just pushes it more," said Gavin Parry,
managing director of Parry International Trading in Hong Kong.
"But as we get closer to the 20,000 level, we tend to hit
lulls," he said, noting key nearby psychological levels for both
the Nikkei as well as the Dow Jones industrial average.
The latter ended just 25 points shy of it on Tuesday.
Underpinning sentiment, Japan's government upgraded its
overall assessment of the economy on Wednesday, hiking its view
of household spending, exports and business sentiment, saying
consumers' mindsets are improving and exports to Asia are
"The economy is on a moderate recovery, while delays in
improvement can be seen in some parts," the Cabinet Office said
in its monthly economic report, marking the first upgrade since
On Tuesday, the Bank of Japan concluded its two-day meeting
and kept monetary policy steady, and also issued a more positive
view of the economy.
The BOJ's assessment came after the U.S. Federal Reserve
raised rates for the first time in a year last week, and hinted
further hikes could come at a faster pace than the market had
On Wednesday, shares of precision motor maker Nidec Corp
added 1.8 percent, after the company said it would
expand its plan to repurchase its own shares to 5 million shares
from 3 million.
The broader Topix was flat at 1,552.35, while the
JPX-Nikkei Index 400 edged up slightly to 13,917.58.
(Reporting by Tokyo markets team; Editing by Jacqueline Wong)