December 6, 2019 / 6:54 AM / 6 months ago

Japan stocks end higher ahead of U.S. payrolls data

TOKYO, Dec 6 (Reuters) - Japanese shares closed higher on Friday, a day after its government approved a 26 trillion yen ($239.32 billion) stimulus package to support growth, with the focus shifting to U.S. jobs data that will be out later in the day.

The Nikkei index ended up 0.23% to 23,354.40, buoyed by gains in industrial and financial sectors. The benchmark rose 0.26% this week — its second weekly gain.

The stimulus package is expected to push up GDP by 1.4% through fiscal 2021 and comes as Japan, like other major economies, looks to revive growth through spending as central banks rapidly run out of monetary policy options.

Markets also rose ahead of data expected to show U.S. job creation accelerated last month, which would ease concern about the health of the world’s largest economy.

The U.S. non-farm payrolls report is forecast to show 180,000 new jobs were created in November, more than the 128,000 jobs created in the previous month.

“The markets need positive data on the U.S. economy to move higher,” said Kiyoshi Ishigane, chief fund manager at Mitsubishi UFJ Kokusai Asset Management Co in Tokyo.

“It’s certainly possible because Japanese shares have lagged other markets and valuations are still cheap. In addition, the size of the Japanese government’s economic stimulus package is a positive factor.”

There were 126 advancers on the Nikkei index against 89 decliners on Friday.

The largest percentage gainers on the index included pharmaceutical company Eisai Co Ltd, which rose 5.81%, followed by semiconductor testing equipment maker Advantest Corp , up 3.44%, and Kobe Steel Ltd, which gained 3.23%.

The largest percentage losers on the index were online security company Trend Micro Inc, down 2%, followed by Sumitomo Chemical Co Ltd losing 1.96% and marine products company Nippon Suisan Kaisha Ltd down by 1.9%.

The broader Topix index closed up 0.11% to 1,713.36.

The volume of shares traded on the Tokyo Stock Exchange’s main board was 1.05 billion, compared with the average of 1.26 billion in the past 30 days. ($1 = 108.6400 yen) (Reporting by Tokyo markets team; Editing by Uttaresh.V)

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