RTTNews - Tracking strong Wall Street cues, the Japanese stock market opened on a high note on Wednesday with stocks across various sectors rallying higher on renewed hopes of a global economic recovery. Shares of export-oriented firms moved up sharply as the yen took a retreat against the U.S. dollar.

Mining, construction and foods stocks are trading firm, with most of them posting sharp gains. Machinery, insurance and communications stocks are also seen attracting attention.

Realty stocks are edging higher, with Mitsui Fudosan, Sumitomo Realty & Development and Mitsubishi Estate leading the charge.

The Nikkei 225 index, which rose to 9,463.14 in early trading, is currently up 132.74 points at 9,443.55.

Nippon Steel Corp. on Tuesday agreed with Toyota Motor Corp. to lower the price of automotive steel for fiscal 2009 by roughly 15,000 yen a ton, delivering the first price cut in seven years. In fiscal 2008, Nippon Steel lifted its steel price for Toyota by 28,000 yen a ton from fiscal 2007 to a record amount.

Shares of Nippon Steel surged higher this morning and are currently trading nearly 3% up. Toyota is up 2.5% over its previous close. Toyota is reportedly planning to expand its lineup by launching two new hybrid models by the end of this year.

Honda Motor Co. and Nissan Motor Co. are also planning to launch new hybrid versions soon. Shares of these two automobile majors are also trading higher on firm buying support.

Among other stocks in the automobile space, Suzuki Motor and Isuzu Motors are trading higher. Mitsubishi Motor and Mazda Motor Corp. are trading modestly higher, while Hino Motors is down in the red with a small loss.

Bank stocks are mostly trading firm. Sumitomo Mitsui Financial Group, Mitsubishi UFJ Financial, Resona Holdings, Shizuoka Bank, Fukuoka Financial Group, Chiba Bank, Sumitomo Trust & Banking and Chuo Mitsui Trust Holdings are trading sharply higher.

Shares of electrical machinery maker Sony Corp. rose sharply this morning and are currently trading up 1.4%. The strong rise of the U.S. consumer sentiment index appears to have triggered some hectic buying at the Sony Corp. counter.

In economic news, Japan logged its third straight trade surplus in April as exports continued to fall less sharply, raising hopes overseas markets may help the country put the worst of its nasty recession behind it. According to the Finance Ministry, exports fell 39.1% on year, a more moderate decline than March's 45.6% plunge. Imports fell 35.8% as domestic demand for foreign goods remained weak.

In the currency market, the Yen is trading at 95.19 to the U.S. dollar. The U.S. dollar rose to the lower 95 yen-level early Wednesday in Tokyo, following its overnight rise in New York on concern about North Korea's nuclear activity.

Among other markets in the Asia-Pacific region, Australia, New Zealand, Singapore and Taiwan are trading firm. The Korean market has pared some gains, but continues to hang on in positive territory. Shanghai is trading flat.

Wall Street came back strongly after a long weekend on Tuesday with healthy consumer data raising hopes of an economic rebound. The Conference Board's reading on consumer confidence for May reached its highest level since September 2008, generating some optimism about the outlook for consumer spending.

Disappointing housing price data had pushed down stock prices earlier in the session. The major averages moved roughly sideways in the second half of the day, holding onto strong gains. The Dow closed up 196.17 points or 2.4 percent at 8,473.49, the Nasdaq rose 58.42 points or 3.5 percent to 1,750.43 and the S&P 500 closed up 23.33 points or 2.6 percent at 910.33.

The stock markets in Asia had finished mostly lower on Tuesday. Japan's benchmark Nikkei 225 Index slipped by 0.4 percent and Hong Kong's Hang Seng Index fell 0.8 percent.

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