Tokyo stocks end higher after US tax cut clears Senate

 20 Dec 2017 - 11:15

Tokyo stocks end higher after US tax cut clears Senate

AFP

Tokyo: Tokyo stocks closed slightly higher Wednesday after the US Senate narrowly approved a sweeping tax overhaul, with bank shares boosted by hopes for higher US interest rates.

The benchmark Nikkei 225 index added 0.10 percent, or 23.72 points, to 22,891.72. The broader Topix index ended up 0.33 percent, or 5.98 points, at 1,821.16.

As trade came to a close for the day, Tokyo investors got the news that the tax bill had cleared the Senate, putting President Donald Trump on the brink of his first major legislative triumph nearly a year after taking office.

The passage "fell short of giving a fresh boost to the market but at least provided support", said Makoto Sengoku, market analyst at Tokai Tokyo Research Centre.

"Expectations that long-term US interest rates will rise also sent financial stocks higher," he told AFP.

Major bank Mitsubishi UFJ closed up 2.11 percent at 835 yen and Mizuho climbed 2.00 percent to 208.6 yen.

The dollar held up, trading at 112.96 yen against 112.86 yen in New York.

Despite rises in rival automakers, scandal-hit Subaru closed down 7.05 percent at 3,478 yen.

The plunge came after public broadcaster NHK reported the firm, which had already admitted having allowed uncertified staff to conduct inspections of some vehicles, may also have cheated on fuel efficiency data.

Overall, market players steered clear of taking decisive moves ahead of the outcome of the Bank of Japan's latest policy meeting.

Policymakers are to wrap up a two-day meeting Thursday, with investors expecting them to stay pat.

BoJ Governor Haruhiko Kuroda is to speak to reporters Thursday after the meeting.