Tokyo shares up on Bank of Japan easing hint

 25 May 2017 - 10:32

Tokyo shares up on Bank of Japan easing hint
File Photo: Reuters.

AFP

Tokyo: Tokyo stocks closed higher Thursday as the yen weakened following a Bank of Japan (BoJ) board member's hint that its huge monetary easing policy would remain in place.

Makoto Sakurai suggested that the central bank is committed to continuing its asset-buying stimulus plan, even as the world's number three-economy shows signs of picking up.

The remark came as minutes from the US Federal Reserve's last meeting were seen as confirming a widely expected June interest rate hike, although they cast some uncertainty on the timing of more rises this year.

Rate hikes tend to boost the dollar against other currencies, including the yen, which is good for the profitability of Japan's exporters.

The dollar rose to 111.61 yen against 111.52 yen in New York.

Sakurai's suggestion "is a plus for the market as it confirms that the BoJ's policy will remain intact", said Toyo Securities strategist Hiroaki Hiwata.

The benchmark Nikkei 225 index advanced 0.36 percent, or 70.15 points, to end the day at 19,813.13. The broader Topix index of all first-section shares gained 0.21 percent, or 3.31 points, to 1,578.42.

In share trading Panasonic rose 1.04 percent to 1,406 yen and Sony edged up 0.07 percent to 4,001 yen.

Automakers were mixed with Nissan rising 0.27 percent to 1,081.5 yen, while Toyota fell 0.26 percent to 5,984 yen and Honda slipped 1.27 percent to 3,095 yen.

Toshiba rose 3.10 percent to 259.3 yen after a Nikkei business daily report said it has agreed with joint venture partner Western Digital to negotiate the sale of their memory chip plant in Japan.

The sale is seen as crucial for cash-strapped Toshiba to get back on its feet after it suffered huge losses in its US nuclear business.