Tokyo stocks close at six-month high

Tokyo - Tokyo stocks rose 1.13 percent Friday to close at a six-month high after a healthy US jobless claims report boosted the dollar against the yen, sending exporter shares higher.

The benchmark Nikkei 225 index added 173.45 points to 15,457.87, its best finish since late January, while the Topix index of all first-section issues rose 0.90 percent, or 11.49 points, to 1,281.35.

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

In currency trading, the dollar held steady after rallying against the yen in New York but gains were capped as weak home sales data offset figures showing unemployment insurance benefit claims at an eight-year low.

The greenback fetched 101.76 yen, against 101.81 yen in New York, where it had jumped from 101.47 yen thanks to strong Chinese manufacturing data.

A weaker yen is positive for Japanese exporters as it makes them more competitive abroad and increase profits when repatriated.

Currency rates hardly moved after Japan said Friday morning that June inflation eased slightly to 3.3 percent.

In Tokyo, Sony rose 2.81 percent to 1,791.5 yen and Toyota was up 0.60 percent at 6,107.0 yen.

Trading giant Itochu rose 2.50 percent to 1,348.0 yen after announcing late Thursday that Thailand's Charoen Pokphand Group could buy a 4.9 percent stake in it for $1.0 billion. - Sapa-AFP