A modest decline in the value of the yen has helped. A weaker currency makes Japanese multinationals like Toyota and Hitachi more profitable, by increasing the value of the revenue they earn outside Japan.
Buoyed by robust global demand, earnings at publicly traded Japanese companies during the most recent fiscal year, which ended in March, rose to their highest levels since the 2008 global financial crisis. The gains in the Japanese stock market on Friday were widely shared, with businesses as diverse as steel makers, insurance companies and department stores attracting investors.
A strong American economy has also pushed global markets higher, and any sign that the pace of growth in the United States was slowing could undercut those advances.
Japanese stocks have in effect been playing catch-up, as well. In spite of the recent surge in share prices, Japan has still underperformed other big markets this year.
Some analysts expect the rally to lose steam.
One reason is taxes. Profits at Japanese companies have been strengthened in part by falling corporate income tax rates. The government has cut taxes three times since 2013, a change that has been the largest contributor to earnings gains over the past five years, analysts at UBS said in a note to clients this week.
Another small tax cut is planned for next year, but the overall momentum for cuts is slowing, UBS noted. That would mean companies will have to find ways to improve their bottom lines on their own, or see the earnings growth that has drawn investors to the Nikkei fade.
The gains in Asia on Friday also came before the release of disappointing jobs data in the United States. The American economy created 138,000 jobs in May, the Labor Department said. That was fewer than economists had expected, although the unemployment rate nonetheless fell to 4.3 percent, its lowest level since 2001.
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