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Tokyo stocks close 0.62% higher

Tokyo stocks closed up 0.62 percent at a near three-year high Monday, as dealers followed a sharp rally on Wall Street that pushed the key Dow Jones index close to a new record.

The benchmark Nikkei 225 index gained 69.01 points to 11,260.35, the best finish since April 2010, while the broader Topix index of all first-section shares was up 1.39 percent, or 13.10 points, to 955.75.

Hiroichi Nishi, general manager of equity at SMBC Nikko Securities, said "the external positives, including the currency and US stock movements, underscore the increasing confidence in the US economic recovery".

US stocks rallied sharply on Friday, with the Dow closing above 14,000 for the first time since October 2007 following a positive US jobs report.

The blue-chip index ended 1.08 percent higher at 14,009.79, close to its all-time high of 14,164.53 seen on October 9, 2007.

Monex market analyst Toshiyuki Kanayama said: "As long as the yen stays on its weakening trend, stocks should remain fairly well-supported."

"Exporters and financials continue to benefit from both the currency market movements and hopes for a more accommodative change in central bank leadership," he told Dow Jones Newswires.

Markets have been speculating about the government's nominee to head the Bank of Japan, with Governor Masaaki Shirakawa due to end his term in April.

The dollar inched down to 92.66 yen against 92.80 yen in New York Friday but was still up from 92.17 yen in Friday trading in Tokyo. The euro weakened to $1.3623 and 126.24 yen against $1.3637 and 126.60 yen.

On the Nikkei electronics giants jumped, with Panasonic soaring 16.89 percent to 692 yen after it said Friday that it saw an operating profit of 121.95 billion yen in the nine months to December, and a 61.4 billion yen net profit in the last three months of 2012.

Sony, which reports earnings this week, jumped 7.52 percent to 1,457 yen.

Sharp was up 5.47 percent at 347 yen after saying it eked out a small operating profit in its October-December quarter.

Steelmakers jumped on multiple brokerage upgrades, with JFE Holdings up 11.10 percent at 2,272 yen and Nippon Steel & Sumitomo Metal up 7.45 percent to 274 yen.