Nikkei jumps on strong Wall St, set for slim weekly gain; BOJ in focus
* Benchmark set for third straight day of gains * Toyota shares rise on seat-maker consolidation report * BOJ set to maintain massive stimulus, decision due 0230-0330 GMT By Thomas Wilson TOKYO, Dec 19(Reuters) - Japanese stocks jumped on Friday after Wall Street enjoyed its best two days since late 2011, with sentiment boosted by the Federal Reserve's pledge of patience in its approach to raising interest rates. The Nikkei benchmark rose 1.7 percent to 17,504.46 by 0129 GMT, set for its third straight day of gains. After shedding a combined 3.6 percent on Monday and Tuesday, the average is on course to recover to post a weekly gain of 0.6 percent. Exporter shares advanced on the back of a weaker yen, which fell through the 119 barrier against the dollar in early morning trade. Exporting firms are also seen benefiting from the slump in oil prices, which has bolstered consumer spending power across much of the world. Toyota Motor Corp rose 2.0 percent, also helped by a Nikkei business daily report that it is to consolidate its seat-making operations in 2016. [ID: nNenbR5c7K] Honda Motor Co Ltd and Canon Inc rallied 2.2 and 1.7 percent respectively. Also in focus was the Bank of Japan, which is set to keep its massive monetary stimulus in place in its first rate review since Prime Minister Shinzo Abe's landslide election victory last Sunday. [ID: nL3N0U21PK] Nearly two months after it shocked markets by announcing additional easing, traders are looking to the central bank's comments on the economic outlook for 2015. Although stimulatory to the economy, plummeting oil prices reduce import costs and threatens to hinder the BOJ's efforts to banish Japan's deflationary mindset. Annual core consumer inflation slowed to 0.9 percent in October, well off the central bank's target of 2 percent. "Whether [Governor Haruhiko] Kuroda links monetary policy to the relationship between falling oil prices, inflation and the economy is important," said Masayuki Doshida, senior market analyst at Rakuten Securities. The policy decision is expected at 0230-0330 GMT, with Kuroda to hold a press conference at 0630 GMT. The broader Topix added 1.7 percent to 1,399.98, while the JPX-Nikkei Index 400 gained 1.9 percent to 12,712.97. (Reporting by Thomas Wilson; Editing by Shri Navaratnam)
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