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TOKYO, Feb 1 AFP

February 01 2013, 9:43PM

Tokyo shares are on track to extend their rally next week, after US jobs data coming on Friday ahead of more Japanese and US corporate earnings, dealers said.

The benchmark Nikkei 225 index added 2.42 per cent, or 264.69 points, to end the week at 11,191.34, while the broader Topix index of all first-section shares gained 2.79 per cent, or 25.56 points, to 942.65.

The surging Tokyo market, which has rallied for 12 weeks now, started off the week by slipping Monday as investors locked in recent profits, largely driven by a weakening yen.

But the index then renewed its rally as investors bet on pledges from Japan's new government to stoke the nation's stagnant economy, while concerns about Europe's long-running debt crisis receded.

Sentiment was buoyed by data that showed European Central Bank loans to credit institutions had fallen, the latest sign of easing tensions in the eurozone's troubled financial system.

The market ended the week by rising to its highest point in nearly three years as the yen lost more ground to above the 92-level against the dollar, its lowest level in over two years.

But "heavy technical resistance awaits at the Nikkei's 11,250 mark, and so the market's rise has slowed relative to the yen's fall", Yoshihiro Okumura, general manager at Chibagin Asset Management, told Dow Jones Newswires.

"The market mood is such that earnings reports don't contain too many major surprises, while misses are not being severely punished."

US economic data will be a key trading cue for the Tokyo market next week, said an equity trading director, ahead of the US government's January jobs report later Friday.

"Players want to see more data confirming the state of the US economic recovery," the trading director said.

"Longer term, the bias on the currency market still favours a continuing move for dollar-yen to the mid-90 yen level."