Tokyo stocks close higher on a cheaper yen

by AFP/ pic by BLOOMBERG

JAPAN – Tokyo stocks closed higher on Monday helped by a cheaper yen and rallies in New York as traders remained focused on the US-China trade talks and the situation in Hong Kong.

The benchmark Nikkei 225 index rose 0.78 percent, or 179.93 points, to 23,292.81, while the broader Topix index gained 0.69 percent, or 11.62 points, to 1,702.96.

Japanese shares opened higher, taking a positive lead from Wall Street following solid consumer data that lifted indices after three down sessions.

A weak yen also encouraged investors to buy shares, said Toshikazu Horiuchi, a broker at IwaiCosmo Securities.

“The current level of the yen is a positive factor,” Horiuchi said. “The yen’s recent stable move helped improve buying sentiment.”

The dollar fetched 108.81 yen in Asian afternoon trade, up from 108.69 yen in New York on Friday.

But the buying was capped by uncertainties over the precarious situation in Hong Kong, dealers said.

Hong Kong’s pro-democracy camp scored a crushing victory in community-level elections that revealed broad public support for a protest movement that has sparked months of violence.

“The market is still digesting the election result, which gave investors a sense of uncertainty,” Horiuchi said.

In Tokyo, market heavyweight SoftBank Group surged 2.26 percent to 4,248 yen and Nintendo jumped 1.92 percent to 42,290 yen with Sony up 0.40 percent at 6,713 yen.

Automakers were mixed. Honda gained 1.22 percent to 3,146 yen with Nissan up 1.09 percent at 674.4 yen, but Toyota lost 0.30 percent to 7,729 yen.

Kirin Holdings gained 1.01 percent to 2,497.5 yen after the firm said its Sydney-based subsidiary Lion would sell a dairy and beverage business unit to China Mengniu Dairy’s Australian subsidiary.