Nikkei rises on Chinese economic news

<p>The Nikkei stretched to a new three-week high today.</p>

The Nikkei continued its strong week during today's (April 3rd) trading session, with the index rising to a new three-week high after another day of gains.

Its progress was not as strong as the 1.5 per cent increase piled up by the index yesterday, but a 0.8 per cent rise was still good enough to prompt speculation better days are ahead for the Nikkei.

It has been a slow start to the new year for the index, which outperformed global rivals such as the Dow Jones and the FTSE 100 last year to increase its value by around 50 per cent.

The Chinese government announced today that taxes for small firms are to be cut, with construction companies seeing their stocks increase as a result of the news. Industrial robot maker Fanuc Corp was up by more than one per cent, while Hitachi Construction Machinery Co was up by 1.2 per cent and Komatsu shares increased by two per cent.

Speaking to Reuters, Takuya Takahashi, a strategist at Daiwa Securities, said: "The (China) announcement is lifting the mood because investment expansion such as infrastructure investment would pave the way for growth in consumption in the future."

Large rises

Another of the big movers on the Nikkei during today's trading session was Sharp, which was up by over three per cent after it was reported by the index that the company plans to raise China-bound shipments of energy-efficient IGZO liquid crystal display panels. These are used for smartphones and shipments are predicted to be up to five million a month by the end of the year.

Yesterday's strong gains for the Nikkei were mainly down to the large increase in its share price recorded by Renesas Electronics Corp, which rose by almost 20 per cent after media reports claimed iPhone manufacturer Apple is considering buying up a part of its business.

The Nikkei was supported today by a strong night on Wall Street yesterday as well, with the S&P 500 closing at another record high as 2014 continues to be a great year for the index.

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