Tokyo's Nikkei closes at six-year high

December 20, 2013 - 11:55:27 am

TOKYO: Tokyo stocks edged up to a new six-year high Friday, reversing earlier losses, as the yen sank further against the dollar after the US Federal Reserve said it would start reducing its stimulus programme next month.

The benchmark Nikkei index added 11.20 points to 15,870.42, its best finish since December 2007, while the Topix index of all first-section shares slipped 0.11 percent, or 1.43 points, to 1,261.64.

The Nikkei spent most of the day in the red as profit-taking took hold following a three-session rally, but the index punched into the black in the last hour of trading, helped by a weaker yen.

The Tokyo market is closed Monday for a national holiday.

"Many fund managers are now starting to go on holiday, so markets are likely to thin even more next week, which may, in turn, create conditions for more volatility," an equity trading director at a foreign brokerage told Dow Jones Newswires.

The Fed on Wednesday said it would reduce its bond-buying by $10 billion next month to $75 billion, citing a string of upbeat figures pointing to a strong recovery.

The news boosted the dollar, which is good for shares of Japanese exporters, while the central bank's faith in the US economy also gave investors a confidence boost. 

In currency trade, the dollar rose hit a five-year high of 104.58 yen in the afternoon, from 104.22 yen in New York.

Auto giant Honda rose 0.93 percent to 4,300 yen and factory automation giant Fanuc added 0.64 percent to 18,800 yen.

Panasonic closed up 0.16 percent at 1,215 yen after the leading Nikkei business daily reported that the electronics firm would shut two semiconductor factories in Japan while selling another three to an Israeli company. (AFP)

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