Tokyo shares up by break, exporters lifted by weak yen
The currency has been falling against the dollar following solid US manufacturing data and comments by Federal Reserve officials suggesting that an interest rate hike was still on the cards for this year.
“A December rate hike seems almost certain, and it sounds like that may be followed by two more rate hikes next year instead of one,” said Chihiro Ohta, a Tokyo-based senior strategist at SMBC Nikko Securities.
“The yen’s weakness against the dollar, triggered by mounting US rate hike expectations, is good for Japanese stocks as it alleviates concern over how far the recent strength in the yen will go,” he told Bloomberg News.
A strong yen is negative for Japanese exporters as it makes them less competitive abroad and eats into repatriated profits.
The benchmark Nikkei 225 index added 0.57 percent, or 94.57 points, to 16,830.22 by the break, while the broader Topix index of all first-section issues was up 0.62 percent, or 8.29 points, at 1,348.50.
In Tokyo stocks trade, Yamaha Motor jumped 4.05 percent to 2,153 yen while Honda gained 2.46 percent to 3,060 yen after reports that the two motorcycle giants are in talks over joining up their scooter divisions.
Brewer Asahi Group Holdings fell 0.81 percent to 3,768 yen following reports that it planned to offer SABMiller 500 billion yen ($4.9 billion) to purchase the British group’s beer operations in five eastern European countries.
Sompo Holdings rose 2.05 percent to 3,032 yen after the Nikkei business daily reported a unit of the insurer is close to inking a $6.5-billion deal to buy property and casualty insurance provider Endurance Specialty Holdings, a Bermuda-based firm with a strong US market presence.
In forex markets, the dollar fetched 102.89 yen against 102.88 yen in New York Tuesday.