Nikkei hits six-year closing high on U.S. data, retail buying hopes

Pedestrians holding an umbrella walk past an electronic board displaying stock prices outside a brokerage in Tokyo
Pedestrians holding an umbrella walk past an electronic board displaying stock prices outside a brokerage in Tokyo December 19, 2013. REUTERS/Yuya Shino

TOKYO (Reuters) - Japan's Nikkei share average hit a six-year closing high on Wednesday, supported by optimism over the global economy and hopes for fresh buying by Japanese retail investors due to upcoming tax changes.

The Nikkei <.N225> rose 0.8 percent to 16,009.99, closing above the 16,000 mark for the first time since December 2007, after stronger-than-expected U.S. manufacturing data helped Wall Street shares finish at record highs.

The broader Topix index was up 0.1 percent at 1,258.18 <.TOPX>, underperforming the Nikkei as some large-cap shares are under pressure on expectation of selling by investors who may switch their benchmark to new the JPX-Nikkei Index 400

The new index is due to start next month and its weightings on some large-cap shares are expected to be lower due to a 1.5 percent cap on individual stock weightings.

(Reporting by Hideyuki Sano; Editing by Robert Birsel)