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Tokyo stocks rally to new high in five years

Bank of Japan stimulus measures aimed at helping the national economy and exporters in particular have helped stocks in Tokyo climb to levels not matched in years. Analysts were surprised by the bold moves.

The benchmark Nikkei index finished the Friday morning session up 3.76 percent, hitting 13,109.55 points. It thus marked a level not recorded since August 2008, just before the global financial crisis unfolded.

Tokyo stocks were seen skyrocketing mainly because of the Bank of Japan's far-reaching stimulus measures announced a day earlier. The package presented by the new governor of the central bank, Haruhiko Kuroda, included a doubling of money supply in line with a policy known as easing.

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Weakened yen seen as goal of Japanese monetary policy

Japan's national currency, the yen, slumped against the US dollar amid promises there would be no let-up in the battle against decades of deflation.

Positive response

"Japanese stocks had long been undervalued, so the gain is justified," Mitsui Banking market strategist Daisuke Uno said in a statement. "But we also have to keep an eye on the downside of the fresh easing measures, and we don't know where this gamble will take us."

On Friday, Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, who had pledged to kick-start Japan's struggling economy, applauded the central bank's action, saying that the market reaction "was exactly what the measures were expected to do."

SMBC Nikko Securities economist Hiroichi Nishi told Dow Jones Newswires that the Bank of Japan's stimulus package would continue to impact markets positively. "The increased appeal of Japanese shares to potential overseas investors, combined with a renewed weakening of the yen, should lift markets still higher," Nishi commented.

hg/mkg (dpa, AFP)

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