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Tokyo stocks up despite investor caution

AFP/APP – Tokyo stocks rose on Monday as late bargain-hunting erased early losses, but investors remained cautious amid fears of a global trade war and a cronyism scandal dogging Japan's premier.

The benchmark Nikkei 225 index, which dived 4.51 percent on Friday, gained 0.72 percent or 148.24 points at 20,766.10, while the broader Topix index rose 0.38 percent, or 6.38 points, at 1,671.32.

Tokyo shares opened lower as a strong yen weighed on market sentiment.

But they turned into positive territory in afternoon trade as investors bought on dips, while the yen started sliding against the dollar.

“Bargain-hunting emerged in late trading after the market suffered a heavy loss last week,” said Hikaru Sato, senior technical analyst at Daiwa Securities.

The dollar fetched 104.99 yen in late Asian trade, up slightly from 104.85 yen in New York late Friday.

The yen advanced last week after US President Donald Trump unveiled tariffs of up to $60 billion on Chinese imports, and after Japan was left off a list of countries temporarily exempt from steep new US tariffs on steel and aluminum imports.

Investors were also cautious ahead of key testimony in parliament on Tuesday over a political scandal that has dented Prime Minister Shinzo Abe's popularity.

Abe's political capital is dwindling due to a widening scandal over the cut-price sale of government land to one of his supporters, with the opposition suggesting his wife Akie may have played a role.

National attention is turning to parliamentary testimony scheduled for Tuesday by Nobuhisa Sagawa, formerly the head of the finance ministry department that oversaw the land deal.

“Investors were on the sidelines ahead of the planned testimony, while attention has been paid to the opening in New York later today,” Daiwa's Sato said.

Automakers were largely higher. Toyota rose 0.59 percent to 6,642 yen and Honda gained 0.46 percent to 3,487 yen with Nissan unchanged at 1,105 yen.

Major electronics makers closed lower as Sony fell 0.33 percent to 5,079 yen and Panasonic dropped 1.44 percent to 1,570.5 yen.

Uniqlo casual wear operator Fast Retailing, a market heavyweight, jumped 1.28 percent to 40,170 yen.

Posted on: 2018-03-26T14:21:00+05:00
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