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[TOKYO] Tokyo stocks recovered early losses Wednesday to finish up 0.17 per cent as late bargain-hunting offset a weak lead from Wall Street.
The Nikkei 225 index at the Tokyo Stock Exchange rose 32.75 points to 19,746.20, while the Topix index of all first-section shares was up 0.28 per cent, or 4.42 points, to 1,592.01.
The Nikkei, sitting at its highest levels in 15 years, moved in and out of negative territory before late bargain-hunting brought the benchmark index back into positive territory.
"The market feels a bit heavy at these high levels," Tatsushi Maeno, head of Japanese equities at Pinebridge Investments Japan, told Bloomberg News.
"It'll probably take a specific event to push the Nikkei above 20,000." Factory robotics giant Fanuc was down 0.71 per cent at 26,960.0 yen, while Toyota rose 0.06 per cent to 8,695.0 yen and Japan Tobacco advanced 1.36 per cent to 3,817.5 yen.
On forex markets, the dollar weakened to 119.66 yen from 119.77 yen in New York.
Wall Street finished lower Tuesday after positive economic data spurred fresh speculation the Federal Reserve could move more quickly to raise interest rates.
Data showed sales of new single-family homes surged in February to a seven-year high, while consumer prices rose for the first time in four months, suggesting a pick-up in the world's top economy.
The Dow fell 0.58 per cent, the S&P 500 slipped 0.61 per cent and the tech-rich Nasdaq lost 0.32 per cent.