Japanese stocks rise to new 7-year high on yen's weakness and upbeat outlook

Japanese stocks rose to a seven-year high Thursday, lifted by recent yen weakness, which helps the nation's key exporters, and optimism over the nation's economic outlook.

The Nikkei 225 index advanced for a sixth day, adding 28.62 points, or 0.16 percent, on the Tokyo Stock Exchange to 18,240.30 points - the highest close since May 2, 2000.

Over the past six sessions, the index has gained 2.86 percent.

Recent weakness in the yen, which inflates exporters' overseas earnings and make exports less expensive and more competitive, has helped buoy the market. Earlier this week, the dollar hit a 4 1/2-year high against the yen and on Thursday was trading at 123.65 yen at 2:50 p.m. (0550 GMT), up from 123.61 yen late Wednesday in New York.

Investors are also optimistic that the economy will continue its steady growth, supported by consumer spending and capital investment and exports. Japan recently revised up its first quarter economic growth figure to an annual pace of 3.3 percent from 2.4 percent because business investment was stronger than initially estimated.

The broader Topix index, which includes all shares on the exchange's first section, rose 5.66 points, or 0.32 percent, to 1,786.38 points.