December 25, 2013 4:50 pm JST

Nikkei ends day above 16,000 as year-end trading kicks up

TOMOFUMI TAKIGUCHI, NQN staff writer

TOKYO -- Tokyo stocks closed higher for the sixth straight day Wednesday, with the Nikkei Stock Average rising 120 points, or 0.8%, to end the day at 16,009. It is the first time for the index to close above 16,000 since Dec. 11, 2007.

     It was this year's last trading day on a delivery basis, which saw investors buying shares in advance on hopes that selling pressure will disappear tomorrow from retail investors as they brace for the end of the securities tax break.

     Japanese stocks have a tendency to climb toward the end of the year. Since 2000, the Nikkei average has ended its last three trading days of the year up 10 times out of 13. Investment appetite is expected to grow on hopes of additional fund inflows into the market after the turn of the year. The Nikkei average could very likely end 2013 at its year-to-date high.

     Fast Retailing, which owns the Uniqlo clothing chain, is pushing much of the index's rise. As there are few buying incentives on the market, Fast Retailing's stock went up 2,000 yen, pushing the Nikkei average up about 78 points.

     There are concerns among many market players, however, of rises in U.S. long-term interest rates. On Tuesday, the yield on 10-year U.S. Treasury bonds rose to 2.98%, its highest in three months. With 3% almost reached, a fund manager at a Japanese investment trust said that such volatility on the bond market could hurt the stock market.