The Japanese stock market is sharply higher on Friday, extending the gains in the previous session, with the benchmark Nikkei 225 staying below the 26,900 level, following the broadly positive cues overnight from global markets, boosted by technology, financial and energy stocks.
The benchmark Nikkei 225 Index is gaining 369.53 points or 1.39 percent to 26,860.06, after touching a high of 26,881.75 earlier. Japanese shares closed sharply higher on Thursday.
Market heavyweight SoftBank Group is gaining almost 2 percent and Uniqlo operator Fast Retailing is adding more than 2 percent. Among automakers, Honda is gaining more than 2 percent and Toyota is adding almost 2 percent.
In the tech space, Advantest and Tokyo Electron are gaining almost 4 percent each, while Screen Holdings is adding more than 3 percent.
In the banking sector, Mitsubishi UFJ Financial, Mizuho Financial and Sumitomo Mitsui Financial are gaining more than 1 percent each.
Among major exporters, Panasonic, Canon and Mitsubishi Electric are gaining more than 1 percent each, while Sony is adding almost 1 percent.
Among the other major gainers, T Sumitomo Metal Mining is soaring almost 7 percent, while Kawasaki Kisen Kaisha, Nippon Express, Denso and Toho Zinc are surging more than 6 percent each. Mitsui O.S.K. Lines is gaining almost 6 percent, while Japan Steel Works and NTN are adding almost 5 percent each. Mitsubishi Materials, Inpex, Dowa Holdings, JFE Holdings, Kobe Steel, Mitsubishi Heavy Industries and Pacific Metals are advancing more than 4 percent each.
Conversely, there are no major losers.
In economic news, the average of household spending in Japan was down 1.9 percent on month in May, the Ministry of Internal Affairs and Communications said on Friday, coming in at 287,687 yen. That missed expectations for an increase of 0.8 percent following the 1.0 percent gain in April. On a yearly basis, household spending sank 0.5 percent, again shy of expectations for an increase of 2.1 percent following the 1.7 percent decline in the previous month.
Meanwhile, the value of overall bank lending in Japan was up 1.3 percent on year in June, the Bank of Japan said on Friday - standing at 585.069 trillion yen. That follows the 0.7 percent increase in May. Excluding trusts, bank lending jumped an annual 1.5 percent at 508.864 trillion yen, up from 0.9 percent in the previous month.
In the currency market, the U.S. dollar is trading in the 135 yen-range on Friday.
On Wall Street, stocks rallied sharply on Thursday, extending recent gains, as investors indulged in some strong buying in several sectors amid hopes the central bank would gradually start lightening its policy stance later this year. The minutes from the Federal Reserve's June meeting, released on Wednesday, said the members of the central bank said there would be another 50 or 75-basis point move in the July meeting.
The major averages all ended the session with strong gains. The Dow ended with a gain of 346.87 points or 1.12 percent at 31,384.55 and the S&P 500 advanced 57.54 points or 1.5 percent to 3,902.62, while the Nasdaq climbed 259.49 points or 2.28 percent to settle at 11,621.35.
The major European markets closed on a buoyant note on Thursday, extending gains from the previous session. The U.K.'s FTSE 100 advanced 1.14 percent, Germany's DAX surged 1.97 percent, and France's CAC 40 spurted 1.6 percent.
Crude oil futures settled higher on Thursday, regaining ground after two days of losses. Data showing a decline in gasoline supply last week, and the dollar's weakness supported oil prices. West Texas Intermediate Crude oil futures for August ended higher by $4.20 or 4.3 percent at $102.73 a barrel.