January 15, 2014 3:40 pm JST

Nikkei ends above 15,800 as US economy concerns ease

TOKYO -- Tokyo stocks closed sharply higher Wednesday, with the Nikkei Stock Average climbing 386.33 points, or 2.5%, to end the day at 15,808.73, its biggest one-day rise since Sept. 3 of last year.

     Better-than-expected December retail sales in the U.S. eased concerns over the state of the country's economy, pushing the Dow Jones industrial average higher overnight for the first time in five trading days. The dollar also rose to the lower-104 yen range, fueling buying from the outset of trading in Tokyo.

     Bargain hunters bought back shares following the Nikkei average's nearly 500-point fall Tuesday. In afternoon trade, the benchmark average added to its gains.

     Yoshihiro Ito, chief strategist at Okasan Online Securities, said the Nikkei index was trading above its 25-day average of 15,700, which encouraged investors to buy back shares at a faster pace.