RTTNews - The stock market in Japan ended in positive territory on Monday, shrugging off the successful nuclear test in North Korea, led by commodity stocks on higher metal prices and exporters gained on weaker yen.

The Nikkei Index opened higher at 9,246 compared to its previous close at 9,226, despite weaker cues from Wall Street, led by commodity related stocks, and advanced on early trading. News that North Korea did successfully conduct a nuclear test created jitters in the market sending the markets down momentarily but could not dent further and the markets recovered in afternoon session led by exporters after the dollar climbed about the key 95 yen level. The Nikkei Index ended higher by 1.3% or 121.19 points at 9,347, while the broader Topix Index of all first section issues rose 7.12 points, or 0.8%, to 883.

On the economic front, the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry revealed that an index measuring all industrial activity in Japan was down 2.4% in March compared to the previous month. That follows a revised 2.3% monthly decline in February - which was originally reported lower by 2%.

The Bank of Japan, in its latest Economic and Financial Developments Report, said that economic conditions in Japan have been deteriorating, but exports and productions are beginning to level out. BoJ Governor Masaaki Shirakawa said the sharp deterioration in economic and financial conditions in Japan and abroad is beginning to level out and he sees prospects of a mild recovery ahead.

Steel related stocks led the gains on speculation that alloy prices might stabilize in the near future. The second largest steelmaker in the country, JFE Holdings advanced 3.7% following reports in the press that Toyota Motor Corp, the major buyer, might not ask for more cuts in alloy prices. Among other steel stocks, Kobe Steel advanced 4.4%, and Nippon Steel added 2.7%.

Goldman Sachs revised the rating on Komatsu Engineering and Hitachi Construction Machinery to buy from neutral citing improving demands in emerging markets. The stock of Komatsu Engineering gained 2.6% and Hitachi Construction advanced 2.1%.

Exporters advanced after the US dollar rose past the 95-yen level. Canon advanced 1.58%, Casio Corp. rose 1.81% and Sony Corp gained 1.84%.

Among banking stocks, Mitsubishi UFJ added 0.33%. Mizuho Financial gained 2.22%, Resona Holdings advanced 1.41% and Sumitomo Mitsui rose 1.33%.

Oil stocks ended mixed. Inpex edged down 0.84%, but Showa Shell advanced 1.94%, and Nippon Oil rose 1.59%.

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