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Tokyo: Stocks open 1.17% higher

Wednesday, December 24, 2014 - 08:57
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Tokyo stocks opened 1.17 per cent higher on Wednesday, boosted by record-setting gains on Wall Street and a weaker yen against the dollar.

[TOKYO] Tokyo stocks opened 1.17 per cent higher on Wednesday, boosted by record-setting gains on Wall Street and a weaker yen against the dollar.

The Nikkei 225 index at the Tokyo Stock Exchange started post-holiday trade up 206.90 points at 17,842.04.

The buoyant opening came after the blue-chip Dow Jones Industrial Average closed above 18,000 for the first time ever Tuesday on strong US growth data.

The Dow finished up 0.36 per cent at 18,024.17, continuing a so-called "Santa Claus rally" that began after last week's US Federal Reserve meeting.

On Tuesday the Commerce Department raised its estimate for third-quarter US growth from 3.9 per cent to 5.0 per cent, the best since 2003.

The dollar rose on Tuesday against other currencies as the strong growth report raised expectations for a Fed interest rate hike.

The dollar was at 120.68 yen early Wednesday, compared with 120.71 yen in New York Tuesday afternoon.

A weak yen is a positive for Japanese exporters as it makes them more competitive abroad and increases profits when they are repatriated.

The euro bought US$1.2173 and 146.96 yen against US$1.2171 and 146.94 yen in US trade.

Shares in struggling Skymark Airlines fell 2.82 per cent to 310 yen in the first few minutes of trade after diving more than 16 per cent on Monday on news that Airbus was moving closer to filing a lawsuit against Skymark over a failed US$2.2 billion jet order.

Sony was up 2.02 per cent to 2,520.0 yen after its Hollywood studio said it would screen madcap comedy "The Interview" in some US theatres on Christmas Day.

It is a dramatic U-turn after Sony Pictures' widely criticised decision to cancel the film following a cyber-assault blamed on North Korea.

AFP