Nikkei jumps 2 pct after US jobs data hits yen, lifting exporters
* Strong U.S. jobs report boosts risk appetite, hurts yen
* Upbeat China trade data also lifts mood
* Nikkei up 50 pct year to date
* Nikkei heads for best yearly gain since 1972
TOKYO, Dec 9 (Reuters) - Japan's Nikkei stock average climbed as much as 2 percent on Monday morning, buoyed by a slide in the yen after an upbeat U.S. jobs report raised expectations the Federal Reserve will soon begin unwinding its stimulus. Declines in the yen tend to boost sentiment towards Japanese equities because investors expect the weaker currency will inflate overseas earnings for exporters, such as Toyota Motor Corp, Sony Corp and Panasonic Corp. Toyota, the fourth-most traded stock on the main board, was up 1.3 percent. Mazda Motor Corp, the fifth-most traded, gained 3 percent, while Panasonic advanced 1.5 percent. Index heavyweight SoftBank Corp, the most traded, climbed 2 percent to a 13-1/2 year high on the back of the upbeat market sentiment. The Nikkei was up 292.49 points, or 1.9 percent, at 15,592.35 by midmorning after trading as high as 15,610.35. The yen was down 0.1 percent at 103.06 to the dollar, adding to Friday's 1.1 percent slide and edging closer to a six-month low of 103.38 yen touched last week. "There isn't much of domestic catalyst out there in the near term. The next major catalyst is whether the Bank of Japan is going to ease again in the first quarter of next year and also corporate earnings commencing in another eight weeks' time," said a senior trader at a European bank in Tokyo. "Ahead of that there is very little meat on the bone in terms of domestic factor that is going to drive the market. It's the currency more than anything else." Retail investors were piling into social gaming network related stocks, the trader said, with Adways Inc, Mixi Inc, Gree Inc and DeNA Co Ltd up between 2.5 and 15.2 percent. Monday's gain took the Nikkei above its five-day moving average of 15,446.01 and close to a six-month intraday high of 15,794.15 reached last week. U.S. employers added 203,000 jobs last month and the jobless rate hit a five-year low of 7.0 percent, raising the chance that the Fed could cut back on its $85 billion-a-month bond-buying campaign as soon as this month. These expectations are boosting the dollar against the Japanese currency. Meanwhile, strong Chinese exports data added further evidence of stabilisation in the world's second-largest economy, also boosting risk sentiment in the region. The broader Topix index climbed 1.5 percent to 1,254.76, with volume at 25 percent of the full daily average for the past 90 trading days. Adding Monday's rally, the benchmark Nikkei is up 50 percent this year, heading for its best yearly gain since 1972. Japanese stocks has been driven by the yen's weakness on the back of Tokyo's aggressive fiscal and monetary stimulus.