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Tokyo stocks rise on weak yen

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Tokyo stocks closed higher Friday as a cheaper yen gave a boost to exporters but traders said they would be keeping a close eye on geopolitics in the coming days.

The benchmark Nikkei 225 index gained 0.40 percent, or 91.99 points, to 22,930.36, marking a weekly gain of 0.76 percent.

The broader Topix index was up 0.38 percent, or 6.88 points, at 1,815.25. Over the week, it advanced 1.13 percent.

“The dollar’s rise into the upper half of the 110 yen range gives a sense of relief” to investors, Okasan Online Securities chief strategist Yoshihiro Ito said in a commentary.

The dollar rose to 110.86 yen from 110.76 yen in New York Thursday afternoon and 110.28 yen in Tokyo earlier.

A lower yen is positive for Japanese exporters as it inflates their earnings when repatriated.

“We need to keep watching geopolitical factors next week, including North Korea’s nuclear issue,” said Hikaru Sato, senior technical analyst at Daiwa Securities.

North Korea has said it will destroy its Punggye-ri test site, in a ceremony scheduled between May 23-25 in front of invited foreign media.

“If North Korea lives up to its promise, it will be a positive factor for the market and may help the Nikkei index break the 23,000 barrier,” Sato told AFP.

Investors were also watching developments in US-China trade talks underway in Washington.

Toshiba rose 0.99 percent to 306 yen after the embattled conglomerate announced it had received much-awaited approval from Chinese regulators to sell its prized chip unit to a consortium.

Many big exporters gained ground on the back of the weaker yen, with Nissan up 0.79 percent at 1,146 yen and Toyota 0.21 percent higher at 7,571 yen.

Sony rose 0.48 percent to 5,416 yen but Nintendo dropped 1.88 percent to 45,700 yen.


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