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Tokyo stocks gain after Clinton gets nod in debate




Tokyo shares rose on Tuesday as investors gave Hillary Clinton the nod against rival Donald Trump in the first US presidential debate.

The Japanese market had opened lower following declines on Wall Street ahead of the highly anticipated showdown between the pair who are locked in a neck and neck race for the White House.

But Tokyo ended into positive territory after a confident Clinton bested Republican candidate Trump in the 90-minute debate — pushing down the yen, which investors buy as a safe asset when they are jittery.

A weaker yen is a plus for Japan’s exporters shares as it boosts their overseas competitiveness and profitability.

“Markets were very anxious before the debate,” Andrew Sullivan, managing director of sales trading at Haitong International Securities Group in Hong Kong, told Bloomberg News.

“Today, there were no knock-out punches, but probably Hillary came out on top, and the market is slightly warmed. But there’s still two more (debates) to go.”

The benchmark Nikkei 225 index closed up 0.84 percent, or 139.37 points, at 16,683.93, while the Topix index of all first-section shares rose 1.00 percent, or 13.38 points, to 1,349.22.

In forex markets, investors sold the safe-haven Japanese unit with the dollar jumping to 100.88 yen in afternoon trade, from 100.30 yen in New York.

“The fact that we haven’t seen Mr Trump take the upper hand has meant that the market is paring back moves to avert risk,” said Takuya Takahashi, a senior strategist at Daiwa Securities Group.

“The yen weakening again is supporting Japanese stocks as well.”

Automakers got a lift from the weaker currency with Toyota jumping 1.63 percent to end at 6,014 yen while Honda rose 1.00 percent to 2,972 yen.

Mobile carrier SoftBank, a market heavyweight, gained 0.64 percent to 6,666 yen, while Uniqlo operator Fast Retailing, also heavily weighted, fell 0.94 percent to 32,400 yen.

Takata jumped 2.30 percent to 355 yen following reports that the troubled firm is starting negotiations this week with its auto clients over its airbag recalls.

Tokyo-based Takata has been hammered by a defect in its airbag inflators that has been linked to at least 15 deaths and scores of injuries worldwide, sparking the biggest-ever safety recall in the auto industry.

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