Filomena Scalise

Tokyo - Japanese shares crawled into positive territory in early Monday trade following a mild rise in United States markets on Friday and reversing initial losses seen after the government announced weak GDP data.

The Nikkei index at the Tokyo Stock Exchange added 0.09 percent or 7.74 points to 8,899.18 by mid-morning. The Topix index of all first section shares edged up 0.12 percent or 0.89 points to 747.18.

The market opened lower after the Cabinet Office said Japan's April-June GDP grew 0.3 percent from the previous quarter, sharply weaker than market expectations of a 0.7 percent increase.

“Despite all the uncertainty over global economic growth, it's important to note that the (Dow Jones Industrial Average) remains not far from its year high,” said Kenichi Hirano, market analyst at Tachibana Securities.

The US blue-chip index finished Friday up 42.76 points (0.32 percent) at 13,207.95.

The market was well supported as many players were betting on easing from central banks, Hirano told Dow Jones Newswires, but added that trading would be thin as many players were away for the traditional Obon travel season.

Weaker-than-expected Chinese export data on Friday may be weighing on the Tokyo market, a CLSA equity strategist said.

In the forex market, the euro stood at $1.2268 and 96.01 yen, down from $1.2291 and 96.16 yen on Friday in New York.

The dollar bought 78.25 yen, flat from New York. - Sapa-AFP