Tokyo stocks close higher

Tokyo stocks close higher
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Tokyo: Tokyo stocks gained Friday on a weaker yen, while investors looked ahead to US GDP data later in the day and the Bank of Japan’s policy meeting next week.

The benchmark Nikkei 225 index rose 0.56 percent or 125.88 points to close at 22,712.75, marking a weekly gain of 0.07 percent.

The broader Topix index was up 0.57 percent or 9.98 points at 1,775.76. Over the week, it rose 1.76 percent.

The dollar was trading at 111.11 yen, down from 111.24 yen in New York Thursday afternoon, but still up from 110.62 yen in Tokyo Thursday.

“The yen is relatively high but the current level is likely to be a positive factor for many Japanese firms,” said Hikaru Sato, senior technical analyst at Daiwa Securities.

A cheaper yen is positive for Japanese exporters as it inflates their earnings abroad when repatriated.

“There will be buying of Japanese stocks as the Dow in New York rose for three days and the yen is weaker at the 111-yen level” against the dollar, Okasan Online Securities chief strategist Yoshihiro Ito said in a commentary.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average advanced 0.5 percent, while the tech-rich Nasdaq Composite Index stumbled one percent, weighed down by Facebook, which lost nearly 20 percent.

“If US GDP figures are strong as expected, it will encourage investors,” Sato told AFP.

The market remained cautious after media reports said Japan’s central bank could discuss tweaking its loose monetary policy at the meeting, Sato said.

“Many investors want to confirm what is going to come out of the BoJ meeting,” he added.

In Tokyo share trading, Toyota gained 0.97 percent to 7,456 yen, while Uniqlo clothing operator Fast Retailing climbed 0.32 percent to 48,680 yen.

Sony rose 0.35 percent to 5,966 yen with Panasonic unchanged at 1,435 yen.

Nissan lost 0.24 percent to 1,036.5 yen after it reported a drop in first quarter profits on Thursday, under pressure from rising material costs and a higher yen.

AFP