Tokyo stocks close up 0.87pc

May 23, 2014 - 9:29:04 am

TOKYO: Tokyo stocks rose 0.87 percent Friday as a weaker yen lifted exporter shares, but investors were keeping a wary eye on tensions in Ukraine and a Thai military coup.

The benchmark Nikkei 225 index, which rallied 2.11 percent on Thursday, added 124.38 points to 14,462.17, while the Topix index of all first-section shares climbed 0.95 percent, or 11.10 points, to 1,180.44.

"The signs point to the Nikkei staying well off its recent 'floor' of 14,000," said Daiwa Securities senior strategist Tsuyoshi Nomaguchi. 

"But traders are likely to be gun-shy about bidding the market up too much ahead of critical elections in Ukraine this Sunday. 

As the region has been a source of 'risk-off' geopolitical tension with Russia numerous times over the past few months," he told Dow Jones Newswires.

Investors were also eyeing regional tensions in Asia. 

Thailand's army chief seized power in a military coup Thursday, deposing its beleaguered civilian government in a bid to end deadly political turmoil but triggering US-led international censure.

Also on Thursday North Korea fired shells into waters near a South Korean warship on patrol south of the disputed Yellow Sea border, prompting an evacuation of residents on a nearby island.

In Asian currency markets, the dollar edged up to 101.73 yen from with 101.72 yen in New York on Thursday.

Toyota shares rose 0.56 percent to 5,557 yen, Toshiba added 0.77 percent to 389 yen and Uniqlo clothing chain operator Fast Retailing jumped 1.35 percent to 32,990 yen.

Sony bucked the uptrend with its shares down 0.79 percent to 1,632 yen despite a pledge by its chief executive to drag the firm out of a painful restructuring following a $1.26 billion loss in the just-ended fiscal year.

On Wall Street the Dow edged up 0.06 percent, the S&P 500 rose 0.24 percent and the Nasdaq added 0.55 percent.  (AFP)