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Japanese Stocks rose on 2011’s last trading day as falling US jobless claims

 A pedestrian looks at an electronic stock board at a brokerage firm in central Tokyo on Thursday Jan. 6, 2011. Japanese stocks jumped to a nearly 8-m...
 A pedestrian looks at an electronic stock board at a brokerage firm in central Tokyo on Thursday Jan. 6, 2011. Japanese stocks jumped to a nearly 8-m...

Japan Markets

A pedestrian looks at an electronic stock board at a brokerage firm in central Tokyo on Thursday Jan. 6, 2011. Japanese stocks jumped to a nearly 8-m...

Japan Markets

A pedestrian looks at an electronic stock board at a brokerage firm in central Tokyo on Thursday Jan. 6, 2011. Japanese stocks jumped to a nearly 8-m...

Japanese stocks (TPX) climbed on 2011’s last trading day lifted by declining US jobless claims with the Topix (TPX) Index headed for a 19 percent annual drop in a year marked by a record earthquake, a nuclear disaster and the European debt crisis.

Sony Corp. (6758), which earns 20 percent of its sales in the US, increased 1.3 percent today. Trading house Mitsui & Co. rose 0.9 percent on increasing crude prices. Chiyoda Corp., a builder of factories, rose 2.9 percent after the Nikkei newspaper reported operating profit will likely beat forecasts.

According to data compiled by Bloomberg, the Nikkei 225 (NKY) climbed for the first time in four days, rising 0.4 percent to 8,430.21 at the 12:42 p.m. in Tokyo, headed for a 0.4 percent weekly gain. Trading volume was about half the 100-day average ahead of a four-day weekend. The broader Topix increased 0.4 percent to 724.86 today, with almost three shares advancing for each that declined.

“Investors increasingly feel the U.S. economy is firmer than they had expected,” said Toshiyuki Kanayama, a market analyst at Tokyo-based Monex Inc. “The economic data is looking well and that will boost stock markets, especially when concern about Europe’s debt issues aren’t in the forefront.”

The Topix (TPX) is headed for a 19 percent annual fall in a year marred by March 11 earthquake and resulting Fukushima meltdown. Shares also fell on concern US growth is sputtering and Europe’s debt crisis will damage the global financial system. The drop has cut the price (TPX) of shares on the index to 0.86 times estimated book value, near the lowest since March 2009, according to Bloomberg.