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 - Tokyo shares rose 1.77 percent Monday, rebounding from a six-week low as a weaker yen boosted exporter shares, following a long weekend.

The benchmark Nikkei-225 index added 251.07 points to 14,475.30, while the Topix index of all first-section shares climbed 1.49 percent, or 17.07 points, to 1,163.04.

Markets were closed for a public holiday Friday.

“Stocks are in line for a technical rebound, but trading volume remains thin,” said Norihiro Fujito, senior investment strategist at Mitsubishi UFJ Morgan Stanley Securities.

“A still-weak dollar and jitters over the consumption tax hike and how much it will affect earnings maintain a grip on buying sentiment,” he told Dow Jones Newswires.

Japan's sales tax is due to rise to eight percent from five percent on April 1, the first hike since the late Nineties, but critics fear it could derail the country's nascent economic recovery.

Last week Tokyo passed its biggest-ever budget, a $937 billion spending package aimed at propping up growth as consumers brace for higher prices.

Yoshihiro Okumura, general manager at Chibagin Asset Management said: “Traders unsure of how the added tax will affect consumer spending and corporate profits have been large sellers in recent sessions, but bargain-hunters are coming out today.”

In forex trading, the dollar rose to 102.41 yen, from 102.23 yen in New York Friday.

A weaker yen tends to lift shares of exporters as it boosts their profitability.

In share trading, Toyota rose 1.69 percent to 5,517 yen, while rival Nissan gained 2.08 percent to 882 yen.

Sony added 2.33 percent to 1,798 yen and Sharp jumped 5.69 percent to 297 yen.

Wall Street provided a weak lead, with the Dow falling 0.17 percent, the S&P 500 losing 0.29 percent and the Nasdaq down 0.98

percent. - Sapa-AFP



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