Tokyo stocks 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 stocks clawed back early losses to end 0.50 percent higher Friday after upbeat Japanese inflation data and as fund managers bought shares to boost their portfolios at the end of the fiscal year.

The benchmark Nikkei 225 index, which opened 0.32 percent lower, gained 73.14 points to finish at 14,696.03, while the Topix index of all first-section shares rose 0.82 percent, or 9.62 points, to 1,186.52.

Friday's performance mirrored the day-earlier session when early losses gave way to gains by the close as bargain hunters scooped up shares and the yen weakened, a plus for Japanese exporters.

The Tokyo market has won support over the past few sessions as fund managers made so-called window-dressing purchases to boost the value of their portfolio holdings as the Japanese fiscal year wraps up on Monday.

“Just the fact that Thursday's market showed a reversal from deep losses... can be interpreted as a plus for sentiment,” said Daiwa Securities chief technical analyst Eiji Kinouchi.

“Whether or not this can continue will depend on whether long-term investors see signs of a break out of deflation and decide to re-weight their portfolios,” he told Dow Jones Newswires.

Fresh government data Friday showed inflation in February at 1.3 percent, matching forecasts from the Bank of Japan which targeted a 2.0 percent rate by next year. Tokyo also said the jobless rate had fallen to a six-year low of 3.6 percent.

In share trading, Yahoo Japan tumbled 6.37 percent to 514 yen after it said it plans to buy almost all of domestic telecom company eAccess from SoftBank in a deal valued at around $3.2

billion.

Panasonic fell 2.26 percent to 1,164 yen after cautious comments from its chief executive over the embattled firm's turnaround plan after years of big losses.

Hitachi climbed 0.93 percent to 755 yen, Toyota rose 0.94

percent to 5,785 yen and Sony gained 0.85 percent to 1,897 yen.

In forex trading, the dollar fetched 102.15 yen, nearly flat from 102.17 yen in New York Thursday. - Sapa-AFP



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