URGENT: Big manufacturers' sentiment improves to 5 in March: BOJ

©Kyodo News

Business sentiment among major Japanese manufacturers continued to improve in March to 5 from minus 10 in December, the Bank of Japan's quarterly Tankan survey showed Thursday.

The key index measuring confidence among companies such as automobile and electronics makers rose for the third straight quarter. The result compares with the average market forecast of minus 2 in a Kyodo News survey.

The index for large nonmanufacturers, including the service sector, rose to minus 1 from minus 5 in the December survey.