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Tokyo: Stocks open 0.49% higher


[TOKYO] Tokyo stocks opened 0.49 per cent higher Tuesday, led by a surge in Fanuc, while investors awaited full-year earnings by major Japanese firms and a US Federal Reserve policy meeting.

The Nikkei 225 index at the Tokyo Stock Exchange rose 97.02 points to 20,080.34 at the start.

The greenback bought 119.15 yen early Tuesday, up from 119.05 yen in New York late Monday.

The euro fetched US$1.0875 and 129.60 yen against US$1.0889 and 129.64 yen in US trade.

A weaker yen is positive for Japanese exporters as it makes them more competitive abroad and inflates the value of their repatriated profits.

The slip in value of the Japanese currency has lifted hopes for another round of bumper earnings as Panasonic and Honda get set to report their results later in the day.

Investors also awaited the outcome of a two-day meeting of the Federal Open Market Committee, the Fed's policy arm, on Wednesday for signs of the timing of an interest rate increase, expected this year.

In Tokyo early trade, Fanuc jumped 5.41 per cent to 28,250.0 yen after the robot maker said it would double its dividend.

"The fact that Fanuc has doubled its dividend payout ratio will be a reason for stocks, especially the Nikkei 225, to rise," Toshihiko Matsuno, chief strategist at SMBC Friend Securities told Bloomberg News.

But Tokyo Electron dropped 12.47 per cent to 6,737.0 yen after the semiconductor equipment maker Tokyo Electron and US rival Applied Materials cancelled their merger Monday.

US stocks fell back Monday from a three-day rally that saw record highs.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average dropped 0.23 per cent, while the Standard & Poor's 500-stock index retreated 0.41 per cent.

Both the S&P and Nasdaq had built on record closes Friday as markets opened higher.