Nikkei gains on US upbeat retail sales data

<p>The Nikkei 225 average rose 0.66 per cent to end at 17,371.58.</p>

Japanese stocks rose today (December 12th), boosted by Wall Street's strong session yesterday after the release of upbeat US retail sales. Figures from the Commerce Department released yesterday revealed sales rose 0.7 per cent last month, the largest increase in eight months. 

In addition, the National Retail Federation told CNBC its forecast "is right on track" for a 4.1 per cent sales growth this holiday season. Meanwhile, the Labor Department reported that fewer Americans filed unemployment claims last week.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average ended yesterday at 17,596.34, up 0.4 per cent, and the S&P 500 added 0.5 per cent, to 2,035.33.

In addition to the US data, exporters’ shares were boosted by a weakening yen. The Japanese currency traded around 119.20 against the dollar. The Nikkei 225 average rose 0.66 per cent today to end at 17,371.58, and the Topix closed up 0.19 per cent at 1,399.65.

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