Tokyo stocks close up on eased political concerns

 23 Aug 2017 - 9:55

Tokyo stocks close up on eased political concerns

AFP

Tokyo: Tokyo's benchmark Nikkei index rose Wednesday, snapping a five-day losing streak as investors brushed aside concerns about political uncertainty with hopes rising for a market-friendly US tax reform plan.

A weaker yen, which is good news for Japanese exporters, helped lift stocks, with the dollar fetching 109.49 yen in afternoon trade, slightly down from 109.56 yen in New York late Tuesday but still up from 109.18 yen in Tokyo on Tuesday.

The Nikkei index added 0.26 percent, or 50.80 points, to close at 19,434.64, while the Topix index of all first-section issues rose 0.25 percent, or 3.93 points, to 1,600.05.

Equity markets have been under pressure this month due to factors that include the attacks in Barcelona, tensions between the US and North Korea and doubts about US President Donald Trump following criticism of his response to a white supremacist rally that turned violent.

Concerns about Trump's tax reform eased after a report that Republicans made some progress on the issue, Mitsushige Akino, an executive officer at Ichiyoshi Asset Management, told Bloomberg News.

"Worries about North Korea and the Trump administration's quagmire have pressured Japanese shares but such bad news are not expanding and the global financial markets are calming down," he said.

However, reports that North Korea plans to boost ICBM production "have stirred wariness" and capped the market's gains, Yoshihiro Ito, chief strategist at Okasan Online Securities, said in a commentary.

Investors were also looking ahead to Friday's summit of central bankers in the United States, which will include speeches by ECB chief Mario Draghi and Federal Reserve boss Janet Yellen.

In Tokyo trade, Sony shares rose 1.09 percent to 4,237 yen and Panasonic was up 0.13 percent to 1,459.5 yen.

Toyota rose 0.57 percent to 6,173 yen, while rival automaker Honda was up 0.16 percent at 3,027 yen but Nissan lost 0.18 percent to 1,090 yen.

Toshiba jumped 4.30 percent to 315 yen after reports said the struggling conglomerate and its US partner Western Digital were in talks over the sale of Toshiba's flash memory arm.