Tokyo stocks hit 15-month high after US jobs data

 13 Mar 2017 - 9:58

Tokyo stocks hit 15-month high after US jobs data

AFP

Tokyo:  Tokyo stocks hit a 15-month high Monday after solid US jobs data all but guaranteed a Federal Reserve rate hike this week, while struggling Toshiba rallied after saying it planned to announce a delayed earnings report this week.

Friday's US jobs report came in well above forecasts, reinforcing expectations for a US interest rate hike this week, and followed by several more later in the year.

The figure sent the dollar up against the yen -- a plus for Japanese shares -- but it retreated in Tokyo, trading at 114.70 yen, from 114.78 yen in New York.

"The yen's current level is still weak enough for Japanese exporters to secure foreign exchange gains," Toshikazu Horiuchi, a broker at IwaiCosmo Securities, told AFP.

"Given the expectations for rate hikes this year, the current dollar-buying trend will not change for the time being."

Tokyo's benchmark Nikkei 225 index edged up 0.15 percent, or 29.14 points, to close at 19,633.75 -- the highest since December 2015. 

The broader Topix index of all first-section issues rose 0.22 percent, or 3.39 points, to end at 1,577.40.

Toshiba jumped 3.16 percent to 214.9 yen after a report said it will announce earnings Tuesday, which was later confirmed by a company spokesman.

The firm was due to release the results for October-December last month but delayed the announcement as it investigates a possible accounting fraud at its US nuclear unit Westinghouse Electric, which has been hit by massive losses.

Panasonic was up 0.62 percent to end the day at 1,292.5 yen while Sharp jumped 3.92 percent to 397 yen.

Mobile giant SoftBank rose 0.57 percent to 8,413 yen while Fast Retailing, another market heavyweight, was down 0.59 percent at 36,620 yen.

Energy explorer Inpex slipped 0.31 percent to 1,109 yen on falling oil prices, while Japan Petroleum Exploration fell 1.23 percent to 2,629 yen.