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Tokyo: Stocks open 0.50% higher

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[TOKYO] Tokyo shares opened 0.50 per cent higher on Thursday, shrugging off falls on Wall Street as a weakening yen boosted exporter shares and official data showed another improvement in Japan's trade balance.

The Nikkei 225 index at the Tokyo Stock Exchange added 103.43 points to 20,697.10 in the first few minutes of trading.

In Tokyo forex trade, the dollar was at 124.09 yen early Thursday, slightly up from 123.96 yen in New York late Wednesday.

A weaker yen is a plus for exporters' profitability.

The euro fetched US$1.0924 and 135.57 yen, against US$1.0926 and 135.44 yen in US trade.

Oil prices fell overnight after US government data showed higher crude stockpiles, adding to concerns about a global supply but providing generally good news for resource-poor Japan, which turned to pricey energy imports after the Fukushima nuclear crisis.

Shortly before the opening bell, finance ministry data showed Japan's trade deficit narrowed sharply last month as exports picked up while a sky-high energy import bill continues to fall.

On Wall Street, US stocks fell as Apple and Microsoft tumbled following disappointing earnings from the two technology titans weighed.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 0.38 per cent, while the broad-based S&P 500 dropped 0.24 per cent. The tech-rich Nasdaq Composite Index sank 0.70 per cent.

AFP