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Tokyo stocks open higher

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Tokyo stocks opened slightly higher Monday after gains on Wall Street last week, as a mixed US jobs report was seen as reducing the odds of faster interest rate hikes.

The benchmark Nikkei 225 index edged up 0.16 percent or 35.91 points to 22,508.69 in early trade while the broader Topix index was up 0.13 percent or 2.29 points at 1,773.81.

Wall Street stocks powered higher Friday after closely watched US payrolls data showed lower-than-expected job creation in April, while the unemployment rate fell to 3.9 percent, the lowest since December 2000.

Investors were cheered by signs inflation pressures remained tame, as average hourly wages rose just 0.2 percent. That figure was seen as reducing the odds that the Federal Reserve will accelerate interest rate hikes.

High-stakes talks between top US and Chinese officials ended Friday in Beijing without major breakthroughs.

Worries that caused sell-offs in February and March have subdued, Rakuten Securities chief strategist Masayuki Kubota said, referring to factors including US inflation fears, the yen’s appreciation, worries about North Korea, and US-China trade friction.

“Considering uncertainty still lingers, however, it is getting difficult to keep chasing higher prices,” he said in a commentary.

“Both the Nikkei and New York Dow could be contained in boxed ranges for the next two to three months” before a new trend emerges, he said.

The dollar was trading at 109.08 yen, unchanged from New York Friday afternoon but down from 109.81 yen on Wednesday before Tokyo closed for consecutive holidays.

SoftBank Group was down 0.11 percent at 8,480 yen after the Financial Times reported that negotiations for the Japanese group to obtain an equity share in reinsurance firm Swiss Re were “close to collapse”.

Sony was up 2.28 percent at 5,199 yen while Toyota added 0.34 percent to 7,190 yen.

Fujifilm, which plunged more than five percent on Wednesday last week before Tokyo entered consecutive holidays, lost another 0.89 percent to 4,086 yen as investors watched developments in its plans to merge operations with US giant Xerox.

The plan is fiercely opposed by several key activist shareholders who have filed a suit over the bid.


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