STORY: Japanese stocks keep powering higher. The Nikkei index began the week by hitting fresh record highs. By late morning Monday it was up about half a percent, comfortably above the 39,000 mark. That came after last week saw the index surge past a peak not seen since late 1989. Japanese stocks have been boosted by factors including a weak yen, which makes them cheaper for overseas buyers. Natixis Senior Economist Gary Ng says other factors are at play too, with uncertainty over China’s economic prospects starting to make Japan look more attractive: “And first if we look at Japan from the macro perspective and we do see that there is a greater confidence that the Japanese economy may actually step out of the very weak inflation of the last decade that it has been in the last 30 years.”The latest gains follow an upside surprise on earnings from U.S. AI chip maker Nvidia last week. That has fueled enthusiasm for tech stocks in general, and helped propel U.S. shares to record closing highs on Friday. Monday morning’s top gainer in Tokyo was high-grade silicon maker Sumco, up around 6%, while industrial robot maker Fanuc saw gains of over 2%. Drug makers also did well, with Chugai Pharmaceutical up as much as 5%.