Tokyo stocks close higher as investors shrug off Syria strikes

Tokyo stocks close higher as investors shrug off Syria strikes

Japan: Tokyo stocks gained ground on Monday as investors forecast that US-led strikes on Syria would have limited impact.

The benchmark Nikkei 225 index rose 0.26 percent or 56.79 points to close at 21,835.53 while the broader Topix was up 0.40 percent or 6.86 points at 1,736.22.

The strikes “have thus far drawn only verbal condemnation from Russia with Russia’s prediction of ‘global chaos’ if the West hits Syria again not filling markets with fresh dread”, Ray Attrill, head of currency strategy at National Australia Bank, said in a client note.

US, French and British missiles destroyed sites suspected of hosting chemical weapons development and storage facilities on the weekend, but the buildings were mostly empty and the Western allies swiftly reverted to diplomatic efforts.

Russian President Vladimir Putin, the Syrian regime’s top ally, warned that fresh strikes would spark “chaos”, but Washington vowed economic sanctions against Moscow rather than further military action.

“There are no signs of a further escalation in bilateral (Russia-US) tensions,” said SMBC Nikko chief economist Yoshimasa Maruyama.

“Chances are that the future Syrian situation will show a similar development to that of April 2017,” he said in a commentary, noting market reactions to the US missile attacks at that time were only temporary.

The dollar edged down to 107.21 yen Monday from 107.35 yen in New York Friday afternoon before the announcement of a wave of Western strikes against Syria’s regime.

“The yen rose slightly against the dollar but the 107-yen level is not going to be a negative factor for Japanese stocks,” Hikaru Sato, senior technical analyst at Daiwa Securities, told AFP.

In Tokyo trade, Toyota rose 0.37 percent to 6,936 yen and Honda gained 0.23 percent to 3,782 yen, with Nissan up 0.35 percent at 1,129 yen.

Sony gained 0.81 percent to 5,288 yen but Panasonic fell 0.19 percent to 1,558 yen.