Nikkei ends above 19000 mark

<p>This is the first time the index closed above 19,000 since 2000.</p>

Tokyo stocks rose to a record high today (March 13th), closing above the 19,000 level, lifted by exporters's shares as the yen weakened against the dollar to ¥121.349.

The benchmark Nikkei 225 closed 1.9 per cent up at 19,254.25 points, the first time the index closed above 19,000 since 2000.

Sentiment was also lifted after an overnight rally in US shares following the release of a stress test by the US Federal Reserve that showed passing grades for 29 out of 31 banks reviewed.

"Underlying buy support remains strong—especially from domestic institutions, defying high valuations," Toshihiko Matsuno, senior strategist at SMBC Friend Securities, told the Wall Street Journal. "With the changes to asset allocations at major investors such as the Government Pension Investment Fund and others to favour more equity exposure, the market looks like it’s on a path to 20,000."

Elsewhere, the Shanghai Composite closed up 0.7 per cent to 3,372.91, while Hong Kong's Hang Seng index was up 0.1 per cent at 23,823.21. In Australia, the S&P/ASX 200 index closed down 0.61 per cent at 5,814.50.

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