By Tomo Uetake
TOKYO, Nov 14 (Reuters) - The Nikkei stock average surged
almost 3 percent to a near six-month high on Thursday afternoon,
extending gains after comments by Finance Minister Taro Aso on
currency intervention sparked fresh buying.
Aso, speaking in parliament, said it was important to have
foreign exchange intervention as a policy option, saying Japan
must always be ready to send a signal to markets to curb
excessive, one-sided currency moves.
His comments added to pressure against the yen, which neared
a two-month low versus the dollar, even though few market
players think the finance ministry intends to conduct
intervention any time soon.
The benchmark Nikkei rose as much as 2.7 percent to
14,966.43 in early afternoon trade, its highest level since May
The market also got a boost from dovish comments by Federal
Reserve Vice Chair Janet Yellen and data showing the Japanese
economy notched up its fourth straight quarter of growth.
"I think buying is mainly by small- or medium-sized foreign
hedge funds who are chasing Nikkei 225 futures," said Kenichi
Hirano, a strategist at Tachibana Securities.
"Some of those funds covered their short positions ahead of
their year-end book closing later this month."
Nikkei heavyweights Fast Retailing Co Ltd jumped
5.8 percent, KDDI Corp climbed 5.1 percent and Fanuc
Corp gained 3.9 percent.
The broader Topix added 1.4 percent to 1,220.77.