Tokyo stocks edge up ahead of key US earnings, data

Tokyo stocks edged up slightly Tuesday in quiet trade during Japan's Golden Week holiday period, as investors took to the sidelines ahead of key earnings and economic data in the US.

The benchmark Nikkei 225 index edged up 0.05 percent, or 11.41 points, to 22,479.28 by the break while the broader Topix index was down 0.20 percent, or 3.51 points, at 1,773.72.

Trade across the region was thin, with most markets closed for public holidays, and Japanese markets open just two days this week.

At around 0230 GMT, Sydney was up 0.60 percent, while Wellington was down 0.12 percent.

Worries about US policy on Iran and trade pushed Wall Street into the red by the close on Monday, despite a strong start with good earnings from McDonald's and several merger announcements.

The Dow closed down 0.6 percent, with the S&P 500 off 0.8 percent.

Trade weakened after Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu accused Iran of lying about its nuclear intentions, claims that pushed oil prices higher.

By Tuesday, Brent North Sea was down 38 cents to $74.79 a barrel, while West Texas Intermediate was virtually flat from New York trade at $68.66.

“Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu stoked the geopolitical fires by accusing Iran of lying about its past nuclear intentions,” said Stephen Innes, head of Asia Pacific trade at OANDA.

“Netanyahu's hawkish retort not only increases the odds the US will pull out of the deal,” a reference to a 2015 nuclear agreement, “but raises the spectre of Israel taking military action against Iranian nuclear facilities.”

Investors are watching for Apple's earnings report later Tuesday, as well as the US Federal Reserve's policy decision on Wednesday. That is followed by key US jobs data on Friday.

“US jobs data this weekend requires attention as momentum for a rise in salaries is emerging in the US,” leading to stronger inflation and worries about a rate hike by the Fed,said Tsuyoshi Nomaguchi, strategist at Daiwa Securities.

Sony tumbled 6.09 percent to 5,071 yen after the Japanese electronics giant reported profits worth $4.5 billion but forecast a moderate slowdown ahead.

SoftBank was up 2.02 percent at 8,673 after its US subsidiary Sprint and T-Mobile, a division of Germany's Deutsche Telecom, announced they will form a new company.

Sprint and T-Mobile tumbled in New York on worries their proposed telecom mega merger would be blocked by antitrust regulators.

Elsewhere in Tokyo, Honda was down 1.16 percent at 3,723 yen after its full-year operating profit forecast missed expectations, while Hitachi rallied 5.02 percent to 841.9 yen after its full-year forecast was in line with market consensus, according to Bloomberg News.

The dollar fetched 109.30 yen in Asian trade, against 109.20 yen in New York late Monday. The greenback was also slightly higher against the pound and euro.

Posted on: 2018-05-01T12:36:00+05:00