Tokyo stocks firm in early trade

Tokyo stocks firm in early trade

Tokyo: Tokyo stocks firmed in early trade on Monday as Japan kicked off a new fiscal year in a solid business climate, shrugging off fresh data indicating Japan’s corporate sentiment weakened.

The benchmark Nikkei 225 index started the day in negative territory, but quickly emerged above water and added 0.23 percent or 50.41 points to 21,504.71 in early trade.

The broader Topix index also gained 0.17 percent or 2.92 points at 1,719.22.

Shortly before the market opened, the Bank of Japan released its closely watched quarterly “Tankan” survey, which showed confidence among Japan’s biggest manufacturers has slipped after five quarters of rises.

A higher yen was seen as cooling optimism at the boardroom, but other data shows Asia’s number two economy has been expanding steadily along with the global economy.

The Tokyo bourse was expected to stay within a tight range for now as many international investors stayed away because of the Easter holiday, analysts said.

Despite the weaker Tankan reading, Okasan Online Securities said: “Corporate sentiment remains at a high level. There doesn’t appear to be a cause for excessive pessimism.”

Players also looked to US jobs data to be released on Friday to gauge their future course of action, it added in a note to clients.

While the Japanese and US markets continue to enjoy upswings, some risks remain going forward, Rakuten Securities said.

The possibility of a trade war between the United States and China, the yen’s appreciation, and political uncertainty both in Japan and the US were among factors that could drive down shares in the immediate future, it said in a note.

Among major shares, Sony rose 1.11 percent to 5,203 yen. Fast Retailing was up 0.62 percent to 43,510 yen. Nintendo jumped 1.26 percent to 47,450 yen.

But SoftBank Group dropped 0.30 percent to 7,926 and Panasonic was down 0.39 percent to 1,515.


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