Japanese stocks rose on Wednesday to highs not seen in two weeks, led by exporters and financial stocks as the dollar stood tall against the yen and upbeat US consumer confidence data lifted expectations of a near-term US interest rate hike.
The Nikkei gained 0.8 percent to 16,856.98 in mid-morning trade after touching 16,885.36, the highest level since August 16. The benchmark index has risen 1.7 percent this month.
The dollar, which was at around 100.500 yen at the start of the week, was little changed at 102.895 after rising on Tuesday to a one-month peak of 103.140.
“Confidence in stocks will likely continue if the dollar maintains the current level or above,” said Isao Kubo, equity strategist at Nissay Asset Management, adding that Friday’s US jobs data was closely monitored by market participants.
The financial sector also rallied. Nomura Holdings surged 2.1 percent, Daiwa Securities Group added 1.8 percent. Mitsubishi UFJ Financial Group jumped 3.5 percent and Mizuho Financial Group added 3.3 percent.
Mitsubishi Motors Corp tumbled 4.8 percent to a four-week low after the automaker said that more of its vehicle models were involved in a fuel consumption cheating scandal than initially stated.