Tokyo stocks close higher

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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 stocks closed 0.93 percent higher Thursday after a tumble the previous day, with a weaker yen and upbeat comments from Fed chief Janet Yellen on the US economy supporting the market.

The benchmark Nikkei 225 index rose 130.33 points to 14,163.78, while the Topix index of all first-section shares climbed 0.69

percent, or 8.00 points, to 1,160.01.

“It's a rebound from yesterday's sharp fall - the market is getting support from a brisk session on Wall Street,” said Tokai Tokyo Securities strategist Seiichi Suzuki.

Tokyo's rise - on the tail of a 2.93 percent drop Wednesday - followed a generally upbeat session on Wall Street with US stocks finishing mostly higher as Russian President Vladimir Putin told pro-Russian rebels fighting in east Ukraine to halt plans for independence referendums, easing some tension in the simmering crisis.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 0.72 percent to 16,518.54, while the Nasdaq fell 0.32 percent to 4,067.67.

But weak earnings from some US technology firms pushed the Nasdaq into the red.

In forex trading, the dollar edged higher after Yellen said the US economy was on track for solid growth in the second quarter and that the central bank would press on with tapering its stimulus drive.

Yellen repeated the Fed's overall dovish stance, saying that the world's number one economy still needed the help of ultra-low interest rates and that there was still no threat from inflation.

In Tokyo share trading, Toshiba rose 1.02 percent to 394 yen after the leading Nikkei business daily said the firm would offer to buy Alstom's power-grid business from General Electric, if the US company completes a $17 billion bid for a chunk of the French conglomerate.

Toshiba said Thursday after the market close that its full-year net profit fell about 34 percent.

Meanwhile Toyota, whose shares rose 0.30 percent to 5,528 yen, posted banner earnings with a record annual net profit of $17.9

billion.

Hundreds of Japanese firms are reporting their financial results over the coming days as earnings seasons gets into full swing.

SoftBank was down 1.63 percent to 7,299 yen, a day after the mobile carrier reported a record full-year profit but said results would be weaker this year, while Nintendo fell 0.70 percent to 10,595 yen.

On Wednesday, Nintendo announced a $229 million annual loss, reversing a year-earlier profit as dismal sales of its Wii U console during the crucial Christmas holiday period dented results.

In currency markets, the dollar was at 101.74 yen Thursday, down from 101.87 yen in New York Wednesday afternoon after Yellen's congressional testimony but still up from 101.57 yen in Tokyo earlier Wednesday.

A weaker yen is good for Japanese exporters' profitability and tends to boost their shares. - Sapa-AFP


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