Nikkei ended up, hopes of more gains in next quarter

Jakarta – The Nikkei average ended slightly higher on Thursday though it pulled back after hitting a fresh seven-week peak, partly encouraged by strong performances in other Asian markets.

The Nikkei ended the April-June quarter up a tad and set to beat many of its peers, supported by signs that Japanese companies are recovering fast from damage after the devastating earthquake in March.

Power companies made hefty gains, with Kyushu Electric rising 4.2 percent after the governor of Saga prefecture, home to a 36-year-old nuclear plant operated by the utility on the southern island of Kyushu, signaled he was not opposed to restarting reactors there.

The benchmark Nikkei closed Thursday up 0.2 percent at 9,816.09, after rising to 9,849.69, its highest since May 11. The broader Topix rose 0.6 percent to 849.22.

On the quarter, the Nikkei was up 0.6 percent, outperforming many other markets, including the U.S. S&P 500, which fall 1.4 percent, and ex-Japan Asian-Pacific shares, which have lost 1.0 percent. That is partly because Japanese shares fell so sharply in March after the country was hit by the massive earthquake and tsunami, followed by the nuclear plant crisis.[Rtr/Fr/Dny]

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