Tokyo stocks close up on weak yen, Wall Street rallies

Tokyo (AFP) – Tokyo’s benchmark Nikkei index rose for the fourth consecutive session Thursday, supported by a weak yen and Wall Street rallies.

The Nikkei 225 index gained 0.87 percent or 197.53 points to close at 22,823.26 while the broader Topix index was up 0.64 percent or 11.42 points at 1,789.01.

“Gains in US stocks, especially Nasdaq shares, supported buying sentiment today,” said Hikaru Sato, senior technical analyst at Daiwa Securities.

“Investors also felt comfortable with the yen’s current level… but many investors were sidelined ahead of a US-North Korea summit as well as monetary policy meetings in major economies next week,” he added.

The yen fell against major currencies, reflecting speculation about the European Central Bank’s possible movement towards ending its massive bond-buying programme.

ECB policymakers will discuss at a meeting next week when to wind down a bond-buying spree that has propped up the eurozone economy for the past three years, a top official said Wednesday.

The dollar changed hands at 110.04 yen in Asian afternoon trade, down from 110.19 yen in New York on Wednesday but still up from 109.89 yen in Tokyo the previous day.

Automakers were among the gainers, with Toyota rising 0.70 percent to 7,527 yen, Honda trading up 0.74 percent at 3,536 yen and Nissan up 1.05 percent at 1,103 yen.

Sumitomo Metal Mining rallied 3.95 percent to 4,710 yen after a brokerage firm upgraded their estimate of the value of its shares.

Banks also gained, with Mitsubishi UFJ rising 1.39 percent to 682.3 yen and Sumitomo Mitsui Financial up 0.76 percent at 4,616 yen.

On Wall Street, the Dow jumped 1.4 percent and the Nasdaq ended with a third straight record as investors shrugged off trade war worries.