Nikkei extends rally into 7th day, longest win streak since Dec

TOKYO (Reuters) - Japan's Nikkei stock average extended gains into a seventh day on Friday, its longest winning streak since December, after another record close on Wall Street and strong Japan consumer prices lifted sentiment.

The Nikkei was up 0.3 per cent at 14,718.29 in midmorning trade. The index has risen 1.8 per cent for the week and gained 2.9 per cent for the month.

Japan's core consumer prices jumped 3.2 per cent in April from a year earlier for the fastest gain since February 1991, government data showed on Friday, as an increase in the national sales tax boosted prices across the board.

"The figures suggest that we can expect rents to rise and companies' sales to increase, which will lead to increased capital spending," said Shigemitsu Tsuruta, senior strategist at SMBC Friend Securities. "Such expectations are lifting the mood, and we are bullish about the Japanese market in the second half of 2014."

Exporters gained, with Toyota Motor Corp rising 1.4 per cent and Honda Motor Co advancing 0.7 per cent.

Index heavyweights SoftBank Corp rose 1.4 per cent and Fast Retailing Co added 0.7 per cent.

US stocks climbed after investors dismissed revised data that showed the US economy contracted for the first time in three years in the first quarter, given more timely data has suggested a recovery following a severe winter.

The broader Topix gained 0.2 per cent to 1,202.76, while the new JPX-Nikkei Index 400 rose 0.1 per cent to 10,956.25.

Further gains were limited as investors were reluctant to take large positions before the weekend.