RTTNews - The Japanese stock market opened on a firm note Friday with the overnight gains on Wall Street aiding sentiment to a marked extent. Rising oil and commodity prices and the resultant strength in resource-related issues are also contributing to the buoyancy in Tokyo this morning.

The benchmark Japanese index Nikkei opened 84 points or 0.86% up at 9,752.51, and is currently trading at 9,738.86, up 69.90 points or 0.72% over its previous close.

With several U.S. financial stocks spurting on the back of ratings upgrades on Thursday, demand for Japanese bank stocks are quite strong this morning. Sumitomo Mitsui Financial Group, Mitsubishi UFJ Financial, Resona Holdings, Chiba Bank, Shizuoka Bank, Mizuho Financial, Fukuoka Financial, Mizuho Trust & Banking and Chuo Mitsui Trust Holdings are all trading firm.

Foods, chemicals, financials, real estate and textiles stocks are trading mostly higher. Machinery, pharma, steel and non-ferrous metals stocks are trading firm. Automobile stocks are also displaying strength, while construction stocks are exhibiting a mixed trend.

Following crude oil prices hitting a 7-month high, shares of oil majors Inpex Corp. and Japan Petroleum Exploration Company rose sharply this morning and are trading firm.

Canon Inc. has decided to go ahead with building a new digital camera factory in Nagasaki Prefecture, with construction to begin next month amid a recovery in demand for digital single-lens-reflex models. The original plan called for breaking ground this past January, but was mothballed while digital camera sales around the world plunged. This facility, in the town of Hasami, will be Canon's first new domestic camera factory in 27 years. It is expected to kick off operations in April 2010. The stock is currently trading up 1.6%.

In the currency market, the U.S. dollar traded in the upper 96 yen zone early Friday in Tokyo, little changed from its levels overnight in New York. At 9 a.m., the dollar fetched 96.60-65 yen versus Thursday's 5 p.m. quotes of 96.52-62 yen in New York and 96.20-22 yen in Tokyo. Currently, the yen is trading at 96.61 to the U.S. dollar.

Among other stock markets in the Asia-Pacific region, Australia, New Zealand, Korea and Taiwan are trading higher. The Shanghai market is currently trading flat.

On Thursday, stock prices surged higher on Wall Street after an uncertain start. A highly encouraging report from the Labor Department that showed a decrease in first time jobless claims for the week ended May 30 and the first decrease in continuing claims in twenty weeks kept the mood fairly positive.

The major averages saw good upside in late session trading and closed just off of their best levels of the day. The Dow climbed 74.96 points or 0.9 percent to 8,750.24, the Nasdaq finished up 24.10 points or 1.3 percent at 1,850.02 and the S&P 500 closed up 10.70 points or 1.1 percent at 942.46.

In the Asia-Pacific region, markets finished modestly lower on Thursday. Major European markets finished modestly higher. The U.K.'s FTSE 100 Index closed up by 0.8 percent, while the French CAC 40 Index and the German DAX Index finished up by 0.1 percent and 0.2 percent, respectively.

Crude oil surged again on Thursday, boosted by an encouraging outlook from Goldman Sachs. Earlier, oil moved to within 40 cents of the key US$70 a barrel mark. Light sweet crude rallied to US$68.81 per barrel, up US$2.69 on the session. Oil hit a multi-month intraday high of US$69.60 earlier in the day.

Goldman Sachs raised its year-end forecast for crude oil to US$85 per barrel, up from the prior expectation of US$65 per barrel. The firm also indicated it no longer expects another drop before a rally.

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