RTTNews - The stock market in Japan ended in positive territory on Thursday lifted by automakers on expectation of a higher share in U.S market after data revealed that Toyota's Corolla eclipsed Ford's Focus as the top selling brand in the U.S under the Cash for Clunkers program. Reports that the U.S. Senate has agreed to increase the funds under the program to $2 billion also lifted sentiment.

The benchmark Nikkei 225 Index ended the session at 10,388, up 135.56 points, or 1.32%, while the broader Topix index of all first section stocks gained 7.93 points, or 0.84%, to close at 958.

In the U.S., stocks ended moderately lower following weak economic data on private unemployment and unexpected contraction in service sector activity raising concerns about the health of the economy. However, unexpected rise in factory orders and underlying confidence of recovery amid satisfactory earnings of companies attracted some late-buying interest and limited the losses.

The Dow closed down by 39.22 points or 0.4% at 9,281, the Nasdaq slipped by 18.26 points or 0.9% to 1,993 and the S&P 500 fell by 2.93 points or 0.3% to 1,003.

On the economic front, a preliminary report released by the Cabinet Office revealed that the country's leading index increased to 79.8 in June from 76.9 in the preceding month. Economists expected the index to be 79.7. The leading index has now increased for the fourth consecutive month in June.

Light sweet crude oil price for September delivery ended at $71.59 a barrel in electronic trading, down $0.38 from its previous close $71.97 a barrel in New York on Wednesday.

Automakers led the gains. Toyota Motor gained 3.77%, Honda Motor rose 3.67%, Suzuki Motor advanced 2.67%, Hino Motors surged up 8.36%, Nissan Motor Co. increased 3.08% and Isuzu Motors soared 6.75%.

Mining stocks also ended higher following rise in commodity prices in the International market. Sumitomo Metal Mining gained 3.39%, Sumitomo Electric Industries rose 2.65%, and Toho Zinc surged up 5.67%.

Retail stocks also ended in positive territory. Fast Retailing rose 1.23%, Seven & I Holdings added 0.67% and Aeon Co. gained 1.40%.

Trading companies also advanced on bargain hunting. Toyoto Tsusho gained 3.25%, Mitsui & Co rose 2.91%, Sumitomo Corp advanced 2.60% and Mitsubishi Corp edged up 0.21%.

Shipping stocks also ended mixed. While Kawasaki Kisen added 1.32%, Nippon Yusen fell 1.45% and Mitsui OSK Lines lost 1.36%.

Mixed trading was also witnessed among the banks. Sumitomo Mitsui Financial lost 1.23% and Resona Holdings slipped 0.74%. Mizuho Financial remained unchanged from previous close, and Mitsubishi UFJ Financial advanced 1.34%.

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