Tokyo stocks close up 2.50pc

January 15, 2014 - 9:12:44 am

TOKYO:  Tokyo stocks closed up 2.50 percent on Wednesday, thanks to a rebound in the dollar against the yen and tracking a rise on Wall Street.

The benchmark Nikkei-225 index ended 386.33 points higher at 15,808.73, clawing back a chunk of its 3.08 percent loss on Tuesday.

The Topix index of all first-section issues finished 2.00 percent, or 25.44 points, higher at 1,294.52.

Investors took their lead from Wall Street, where the three main indexes rallied after the US Commerce Department said retail sales rose 0.2 percent in December, surprising analysts who had predicted no change.

The Dow jumped 0.71 percent, the S&P 500 was up 1.08 percent and the Nasdaq added 1.69 percent.

Tuesday's news soothed concerns about the US economy after Friday's disappointing jobs report which had fuelled speculation the Federal Reserve could hold off announcing any further cuts to its stimulus programme when it meets later this month.

"A gradual US economic recovery and an incremental tapering (of US monetary stimulus) will likely continue," said Mitsushige Akino, chief fund manager at Ichiyoshi Investment Management.

Currency traders moved back into the dollar after it sank on Friday and Monday after the jobs report.

The greenback bought 104.42 yen in Tokyo, up from 104.20 in New York and much stronger than the 103.43 yen in Asia earlier Tuesday.

Japan Airlines rose 1.33 percent to 5,300 yen.

The carrier said it had grounded another one of its Dreamliner jets after "white smoke" was seen outside the cockpit window during maintenance, a year after the aircraft suffered a months-long global grounding over battery problems.

Rival All Nippon Airways, also a major Dreamliner customer, was up 0.89 percent at 225 yen, while shares in the plane's Japanese battery supplier GS Yuasa slipped 0.68 percent to 582 yen.

"Although most of the battery problems on the new Boeing jets are apparently over, I wouldn't expect all problems to be solved, as the aircraft is a truly cutting edge technology," Tachibana Securities analyst Kenichi Hirano told Dow Jones Newswires.  (AFP)