RTTNews - A strong open is expected Friday for Tokyo stocks, as the U.S. market rally continued overnight. Strength in the tech sector helped push Wall Street to widespread gains.

Japan shares advanced on Thursday, with Mazda's announced cooperative plan with Toyota boosted trading.

The benchmark Nikkei 225 Average posted a gain of 37.43 points or 1.35 percent to close at 2,801.51.

Of the Nikkei component stocks, there were 137 closing higher, 74 were lower and 14 were unchanged.

The broader Topix index of all Tokyo Stock Exchange First Section stocks was up 5.88 points or 0.7 percent to 872.25.

The auto sector started strong out of the gate, but trimmed its gains later. Among the leaders, Mazda, which announced a partnership with Toyota to produce hybrids, closed up 14 yen or 6.19 percent, Toyota was up 30 yen or 0.86 percent, Honda was up 25 yen or 1.02 percent, Fuji Heavy rose 5 yen or 1.48 percent and Mitsubishi Motors was unchanged.

The steel producers were stronger, with Nippon Steel up 11 yen or 3.37 percent on announced tie-up with Nisshin Steel, which gained 5.7 percent. Kobe Steel rose 2 yen or 1.25 percent and Sumitomo Metal Industries was up 7 yen or 3.10 percent.

The major banks were mixed, with Mitsubishi UFJ down 5 yen or 0.93 percent, Mizuho Financial up 1 yen or 0.53 percent, Sumitomo Mitsui was up 30 yen or 0.81 percent and Resona Holdings added 18 yen or 1.46 percent.

Overseas, markets in the U.S. posted more solid gains on Thursday, bolstered by strength in the tech sector.

At the closing bell on Wall Street, the Dow Jones Industrial Average was up 05.61 points or 1.11 percent at 8,711.82, the tech-heavy Nasdaq Composite index gained 22.131 points or 1.19 percent at 1,885.03 and the Standard & Poor's 500 index was up by 8.06 points or 0.86 percent at 940.74.

Markets in the Asia/Pacific region put in a mixed performance on Thursday.

Hong Kong's Hang Seng index rose 103.21 points or 0.57 percent to 18,361.87.

In China, the Shanghai Composite index was down 4.81 points or 0.15 percent at 3.183.74.

India's BSE 30 index dropped 2.99 points or 0.02 percent to 13,250.25.

In Indonesia, the Jakarta Composite index declined 5.33 points or 0.25 percent to 2,117.95.

The KOSPI/Seoul Composite index advanced 11.36 points or 0.80 percent to 1,432.22.

The Taiwan Weighted Index was up 41.70 points or 0.62 percent at 6,780.30.

On the economic data calendar, final May numbers for Japan's leading and coincident indices are due for release on Friday.

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