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Nikkei stock index jumps 4.1 percent Author:Unknown Date:03/25/14 Click:

TOKYO - Japan's benchmark stock index jumped more than 4 percent Friday as traders bought exporter issues on a stronger dollar following reports of a U.S. economic stimulus plan.

The benchmark Nikkei rose 536.38 points, or 4.10 percent, to close at 13,629.16 on the Tokyo Stock Exchange.

Shares plunged earlier this week amid fears of a U.S. recession and a possible global slowdown. But a rally — now in its third day — began Wednesday after an emergency cut in interest rates by the U.S. Federal Reserve. The Nikkei, though, is still about 230 points down for the week.

Exporters were among the gainers Friday as the dollar rose against the yen. The dollar bought 107.46 yen Friday, up from 106.79 yen late Thursday in New York.

Toyota Motor added 6.3 percent to 5,570 yen. Honda Motor rose 6.5 percent to 3,270 yen. Sony Corp. rose 2.4 percent to 5,110.

A weaker yen makes goods exported from Japan more competitive abroad and increases the repatriated earnings of the exporting companies.

"The direct impact of the U.S. subprime loan problem on Japan has been limited," Hiroko Ota, the economy minister, told a parliamentary committee Friday. But she added weak share prices could dampen consumer appetite.

"We will closely monitor the course of the U.S. economy and consumption and their possible impact on Japan," she said.

Japan's broader Topix index, which includes all shares on the Tokyo exchange's first section, rose 60.32 points, or 4.70 percent, to 1,344.77 points Friday. It climbed 2.76 percent Thursday.

On Thursday, U.S. lawmakers passed an economic package including tax rebates of up to $1,200 to tax payers. Investors reacted positively to the news, pushing the dollar higher against the yen.

The Dow Jones industrials gained 108 points, or 0.9 percent, to 12,379 overnight.

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