RTTNews - The stock market in Japan ended in positive territory on Friday, taking cues from Wall Street, where the market indices snapped their three-day losses and ended in the green on better than expected economic data. That said, profit taking ahead of the weekend trimmed the gains.

In the U.S., stocks finished in the green snapping the three-day losses as traders reacted to some better-than-expected economic data that raised hopes of recovery.

A report from the Philadelphia Federal Reserve revealed that its index of activity in the manufacturing sector in the mid-Atlantic region rose to a negative 2.2 in June from a negative 22.6 in May, sharply higher than the modest increase of negative 17.0 expected by the economists.

Separately, a report from the Conference Board showed that its leading indicators index rose 1.2% in May following an upwardly revised 1.1% increase in April. Economists had expected the index to increase by 1.0%.

While employment data from the Labor Department showed an increase in weekly jobless claims to 608,000 from the previous week's revised figure of 605,000, some optimism was generated by a drop in continuing claims, which fell by 148,000 in the week ended June 6th to 6.687 million.

The Dow closed up 58.42 points or 0.7% at 8,556 and the S&P 500 closed up 7.66 points or 0.8% at 918. However, the Nasdaq closed down flat at 1,808, with a loss of 0.34 points or 0.02%

The Nikkei 225 Average opened sharply higher at 9,758 compared to its previous close of 9,704, and continued to rise above the 9,800-mark on optimism about a global recovery. However, profit taking in the afternoon session ahead of the weekend trimmed the gains. The index finally closed at 9,786, representing a gain of 82.54 points or 0.85%. The broader Topix Index of all first section issues ended at 919, up 7.76 points or 0.85%.

Crude oil prices ended with a gain of 23 cents at $71.61 a barrel in Asian trading. Light sweet crude oil finished at $71.37, up $0.34, on Thursday in New York, amid choppy trading.

On the economic front, a report released by the Japan Department Store Association showed that sales at nationwide department stores declined for the fifteenth straight month during May by 12.3% year-on-year, marginally higher than the 11.3% drop reported for April 2009.

Banks led the advances after Goldman Sachs stated in a report that stocks in the sector are undervalued and recommended the sector. Mitsubishi UFJ Corp. gained 4.05%, Mizuho Financial advanced 3.73%, Resona Holdings added 3.13% and Sumitomo Mitsui Financial rose 4.08%.

Memory chip maker Elpida Memory advanced 3.27% following reports that the company might approach the Government for financial assistance.

In the shipping space, Kawasaki Kisen gained 3.39% after Morgan Stanley raised its rating on the stock to equal weight from under weight.

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