TOKYO, Feb 19 (Reuters) – Japan’s Nikkei average rose to a 15-year high on Thursday morning, helped by gains in such stocks as financial and shipping companies.

The Nikkei was up 0.6 percent at 18,307.25, its highest level since May 2000.

The broader Topix added 0.6 percent to 1,491.05 and the JPX-Nikkei Index 400 gained 0.6 percent to 13,527.00.

(Reporting by Ayai Tomisawa; Editing by Chris Gallagher)