Tokyo shares close up

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JapanBrokerage REUTERS A man looks at his watch as he passes an electronic board displaying a graph of currency rates outside a brokerage in Tokyo.

Tokyo shares closed up 0.24 percent on Monday, extending a rally which has seen the benchmark Nikkei 225 index top six-month highs as investors await a possible deal on Greece's bailout package.

The Nikkei added 22.14 points to 9,388.94 on the Tokyo Stock Exchange, while the broader Topix index of all first-section shares gained 0.40 percent, or 3.07 points, to 779.50.

French Finance Minister Pierre Moscovici on Sunday offered some hope in the long-running saga to reach a deal for Athens, saying that officials were “very close to a solution” as eurozone finance ministers meet later Monday.

The talks mark their third effort to agree on unlocking a 31.2-billion-euro ($40.5-billion) slice of aid for debt-riddled Greece as it teeters on the verge of bankruptcy, stoking eurozone fears among investors.

The Tokyo market had won support from a weaker yen, but gave up some of its early Monday gains as the euro came off a seven-month high above 107 yen with the greenback also slipping on the Japanese unit from US trade Friday.

Hopes for further central bank easing to boost Japan's slowing economy have also supported Tokyo shares recently.

Market sentiment got a boost as Wall Street put in a strong showing Friday amid signs that the holiday shopping season was off to a good start, with the Dow Jones Industrial Average closing up 1.35 percent at 13,009.68.

Retail giant Walmart called it the “best ever” Black Friday, the traditional discount sales day that kicks off the holiday shopping season.

In Tokyo stock trading, shares in Renesas Electronics jumped 16.60 percent to 337 yen on reports that its three major shareholders and a government fund reached a final accord on the embattled chipmaker's bailout.

Sony and Panasonic shares fell after ratings agency Fitch last week downgraded the electronics industry titans' credit ratings to junk status for the first time.

Sony was off 1.91 percent to 818 yen while Panasonic dipped 0.24 percent to 406 yen.

Hitachi was up 0.22 percent to 454 yen as the firm said it had completed its previously announced $1.11 billion acquisition of British atomic power venture Horizon to expand its nuclear business overseas.

In mid-afternoon forex trade, the euro bought $1.2945 and 106.28 yen, from $1.2973 and 106.90 yen in New York.

The dollar was also weaker at 82.09 yen against 82.40 yen in US trade. - Sapa-AFP

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