Nikkei up 1.5 pct after buyback on yen, commodities

 * Nikkei above 25-MA for first time since March 9
 * April Nikkei options seen settling at 9,612.51
 * Fast Retailing surges after raising outlook, boosts Nikkei
 By Chikafumi Hodo and Antoni Slodkowski	
 TOKYO, April 8 (Reuters) - Japan's Nikkei advanced nearly
1.5 percent on Friday with active short-covering by players
including commodity trading advisers detected after no further
damage was reported at the crippled nuclear plant in northeast
Japan following last night's aftershock.	
 The Nikkei gained momentum in line with rises in oil and
gold prices during Asian trade, with the yen's extended falls
against the euro, bolstering overall sentiment, traders said.	
 The Nikkei rose above the closely watched 25-day moving
average, currently around 9,715, for the first time since before
the devastating quake on March 11.	
 "The market turned surprisingly strong in the afternoon as
many operators rushed to cover their short positions," said
Takashi Ohba, a senior strategist at Okasan Securities. 	
"Originally many people had expected the Tokyo market to fall
today after seeing falls in the U.S. market and following last
night's big aftershock, so strong short-covering emerged after
seeing convincing gains in prices," Ohba said.	
 By mid-afternoon trade, the benchmark Nikkei index 
was up 1.5 percent at 9,732.68.	
 The broader Topix index rose 1.0 percent to 849.70.	
 Japanese stocks have been buoyant from the morning,
supported by a strong performance from major retailers.	
 The market was also lifted after April options prices were
seen settling higher than expected.	
 A decisive break above 9,612.51 -- the level where options
settled -- and a 15 percent jump by Tokyo Electric Co ,
spurred buying, with players adjusting their positions ahead of
the start of the earnings season in the U.S. and Japan.	
"This rise is surprising, and it's really surprising that the
market has been so strong recently," said Hideo Arimura, senior
fund manager at Mizuho Asset Management.	
 "Small and mid-cap firms are doing well today, boosted by
buying from individual players, whose confidence was ramped up
by a stronger performance by TEPCO."	
	
 (Reporting by Antoni Slodkowski; Editing by Joseph Radford)	
 	
 

Nikkei up 1.5 pct after buyback on yen, commodities