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Tokyo’s benchmark stock index closes at month high

Tokyo’s benchmark stock index closed at its highest level in over a month Tuesday, as an oil price rally lifted energy firms while a weaker yen boosted exporters.

A man walks past an electric quotation board flashing the Nikkei key index of the Tokyo Stock Exchange (TSE) in front of a securities company in Tokyo on April 13, 2016.  Tokyo's benchmark Nikkei 225 index was up 2.64 percent, or 421.03 points, at 16,349.82. / AFP PHOTO / TORU YAMANAKA (2016.mb.com.ph)

A man walks past an electric quotation board flashing the Nikkei key index of the Tokyo Stock Exchange (TSE) in front of a securities company in Tokyo on April 13, 2016.
Tokyo’s benchmark Nikkei 225 index was up 2.64 percent, or 421.03 points, at 16,349.82. / AFP PHOTO / TORU YAMANAKA (2016.mb.com.ph)

Coming back from a three-day holiday, Tokyo investors were buoyed by news of US oil prices finishing at their highest level for 2016 after Russian President Vladimir Putin expressed support for OPEC’s push to limit output.

“The fact that Russia has shown willingness to cooperate with OPEC is a tailwind for oil prices going forward,” Toshihiko Matsuno, a senior strategist at SMBC Friend Securities, told Bloomberg News.

“In the short term, it’s positive for oil and mining shares and it’s also improved market sentiment,” he said.

The benchmark Nikkei 225 index jumped 0.98 percent, or 164.67 points, to close at 17,024.76, its highest close since early September.

The broader Topix index of all first-section issues gained 0.42 percent, or 5.74 points, to 1,356.35.

Sentiment also got a lift as market-favoured Hillary Clinton appeared to come out ahead in her second presidential debate with Republican rival Donald Trump.

“With secretary Clinton taking the upper hand at the debate, negative factors have been scaled back a little for the markets,” Matsuno said.

Petroleum-linked firms rose, with energy explorer Inpex surging 3.19 percent to 996.7 yen and JX Holdings up 2.36 percent at 419.5 yen.

Toyota added 0.15 percent to close at 6,015 yen while Sony jumped 1.91 percent to 3,414 yen.

Bucking the uptrend, Takata dived nearly 11 percent in early trading following reports that the Japanese airbag maker, stung by the auto industry’s biggest-ever safety recall, was considering filing for bankruptcy in the United States.

The firm ended the day at 347 yen, down 7.46 percent.

In forex markets, the dollar was trading at 103.86 yen, up from 103.62 yen in New York Monday afternoon.