* Nikkei highest since July 26, up above 25-day moving
* Sony, Sharp shine on 1Q profits
* Toyota earnings, U.S. jobs data in focus later on Friday
By Ayai Tomisawa
TOKYO, Aug 2 Japan's Nikkei share average rose
to a one-week high on Friday morning, spurred by Wall Street's
record-close overnight on strong U.S. economic data and the
commitment by major central banks to keep monetary stimulus in
A stronger dollar versus the yen also buoyed sentiment,
lifting exporters like auto makers and electronics manufactures.
The Nikkei jumped 1.9 percent to 14,266.31, after rising as
high as 14,284.00, the highest level since July 26 and surpassed
its 25-day moving average of 14,277.48.
"There are two major factors. Signs of a recovery in the
U.S. economy and a weak yen driven by the strong dollar," said
Hikaru Sato, senior technical analyst at Daiwa Securities.
The Dow and S&P 500 hit record closing highs on Thursday,
with the S&P 500 topping 1,700.
Sato said that investors were also encouraged by a handful
of positive earnings from the likes of Sony Corp and
Sharp Corp, whose shares jumped 4 percent and 5
percent, respectively, after they posted strong profits for the
first quarter ended June.
"Some investors are still cautious over companies' decisions
to keep their full-year profit outlooks, but it also means that
there is room for those companies to raise them later in the
year, so earnings results overall are taken positively," Sato
The Topix rose 1.5 percent to 1,181.25.
The dollar rose 1.7 percent to 99.54 yen on Thursday
after robust U.S. jobless claims and manufacturing data. A weak
yen lifts Japanese exporters' competitiveness abroad as well as
profits when repatriated.
The focus in world markets now turns to the key U.S.
non-farm payrolls report due later in the global day.
A strong jobs report would increase the likelihood the
Federal Reserve could begin tapering its stimulus in September,
which could hurt the gains in equities and commodities, but it
would support the dollar.
The European Central Bank and the Bank of England both ended
policy meetings by leaving interest rates at record lows, a day
after the Fed said the U.S. economy still needed its support and
avoided any mention of a change to its stimulus measures.
As of July 31, sales in the first quarter at the 156
ex-financial companies out of the 332 companies in the
Russell/Nomura Large Cap Index were up 7.8 percent on year,
recurring profits were up 35.7 percent, Nomura Securities said.
The sectors that contributed most to the increase in the
profit growth rate compared with the fourth quarter of the
previous fiscal year ended March included software,
telecommunications, and housing and real estate, Nomura said.
On Friday, investors were also looking out for corporate
earnings from blue chip companies such as Toyota Motor Corp
after the market closes.