By Laura He, MarketWatch
HONG KONG (MarketWatch) — Japan stocks extended a three-day winning streak Thursday, with the Nikkei hitting the highest point in more than seven years.
The Nikkei Average /zigman2/quotes/210597971/delayed JP:NIK +1.27% climbed 1.1% to close at 17,392.79, as investors looked ahead to Monday’s release of economic growth statistics, which were expected to be used by Prime Minister Shinzo Abe for deciding whether to postpone a sales-tax increase planned for October next year.
Meanwhile, the broader Topix index /zigman2/quotes/210598092/delayed JP:180460 +0.93% advanced 0.9%.
The yen /zigman2/quotes/210561789/realtime/sampled USDJPY +0.0383% slipped against the greenback, with the dollar buying ¥115.58 compared with ¥115.47 a day earlier.
On the same day, official data showed that Japanese core machinery orders rose 2.9% in September from the previous month, marking a fourth straight month of gains.
Market movers included retailer AEON Co. Ltd. /zigman2/quotes/208701491/delayed JP:8267 -1.04% , rallying 3%, its local rivals J. Front Retailing Co. Ltd. /zigman2/quotes/209287176/delayed JP:3086 +0.71% and Fast Retailing Co. Ltd. /zigman2/quotes/200663563/delayed JP:9983 +2.53% , both advancing 1.9%. Internet and telecoms conglomerate SoftBank Corp. /zigman2/quotes/207303954/delayed JP:9984 +3.50% jumped 2.9%, electronic component maker TDK Corporation /zigman2/quotes/208948266/delayed JP:6762 +2.34% climbed 2.2%, camera maker Nikon Corp. /zigman2/quotes/203281219/delayed JP:7731 +1.83% rose 1.6%, and auto maker Toyota Motor Corp. /zigman2/quotes/203803129/delayed JP:7203 +2.14% improved by 1.3%.
In other Asian markets, Hong Kong stocks rose for a fourth straight session, with the Hang Seng Index /zigman2/quotes/210598030/delayed HK:HSI +2.96% notching a mild 0.3% gain.
Over on the mainland, the Shanghai Composite Index /zigman2/quotes/210598127/delayed CN:SHCOMP +1.60% declined 0.4%.
In Sydney, the S&P/ASX 200 /zigman2/quotes/210598100/delayed AU:XJO +1.15% also settled 0.4% lower, while Seoul’s Kospi Composite Index /zigman2/quotes/210598069/delayed KR:180721 +1.81% gave up 0.3%.