Around the World's Markets: Tokyo

STOCKS ROSE to their highest close in 20 months, bolstered by a combination of the US Consumer Price Index data on Wednesday and recent domestic growth figures. The US data showed a flat 0.1 per cent rise last month, easing fears that the Federal Reserve would raise interest rates by 0.2 points.

The Nikkei 225 closed up 1.5 per cent at 17,470.45. Sony rose 2.1 per cent to 12,150 yen, the biggest contribution to the gain. Japan's second- largest consumer electronics company relies on the US market for one-third of its operating profits.