Tokyo shares rise ahead of corporate earnings

 10 May 2017 - 11:37

Tokyo shares rise ahead of corporate earnings

AFP

Tokyo: Tokyo stocks gained Wednesday following high-tech rallies on Wall Street, with investors eyeing the latest financial results from major Japanese firms including Toyota and mobile carrier SoftBank.

The Nikkei 225 index came within spitting distance of the key 20,000 mark, a level it last crossed in December 2015, but later pared gains.

A drop in the yen buoyed markets as it boosted the outlook for exporters' profitability.

A solid US jobs report late last week has strengthened expectations of two more interest rate rises in 2017, seen as a positive for the dollar.

The greenback fetched 113.79 yen on Wednesday, slightly down from 114.04 yen in New York, but still up from recent levels.

The Nikkei added 0.29 percent, or 57.09 points, to close at 19,900.09. The Topix index of all first-section issues edged up 0.22 percent, or 3.42 points, to 1,585.19.

"The US economy is doing well and a June rate increase is seen as almost certain," Hiroyasu Iida, head of the investment research centre at Aizawa Securities in Tokyo, told Bloomberg News.

"Considering that the yen was trading at 117 per dollar at the start of the year, Japanese stock indexes still have room to rise."

Tokyo picked up a strong lead from New York, where the tech-heavy Nasdaq finished at a fresh record as Apple become the first company to close above $800 billion in market capitalisation.

On the downside, traders were wary as North Korea's ambassador to Britain told Sky News that his nation would go ahead with its sixth nuclear test "at the place and time as decided by our supreme leader, Kim Jong-Un".

Loss-hit automaker Mitsubishi Motors surged 9.34 percent to 773 yen after it forecast a net profit for the current fiscal year.

Toyota slipped 0.88 percent to close at 6,081 yen, before announcing that its annual net profit dropped for the first time in five years for the year to last March. 

It also warned of more declines in the ongoing fiscal year, citing currency fluctuations.

Small-car maker Suzuki rose 0.80 percent to 4,895 yen, after a report said the company would invest some 100 billion yen in a new production line at one of its plants in India.

SoftBank rose 1.43 percent to 8,700 yen before its own earnings release, and after a report said it was close to announcing the fundraising close for its massive technology fund.

The Japanese telecoms giant said last year it hoped to raise as much as $100 billion for a new technology investment fund it has set up in partnership with Saudi Arabia.

The fundraising close will be announced as soon as next week, Bloomberg News reported.

After the market closed, SoftBank said its group net profit tripled after selling its stake in Chinese e-commerce giant Alibaba, an improvement in domestic telecom operations and the booking of profits from newly acquired subsidiary ARM.