Tokyo: Shares up in early deals on weaker yen, SoftBank share buyback

[TOKYO] Tokyo shares traded slightly higher early on Tuesday as a weaker yen helped lift exporters and a surge in telecom giant SoftBank following news of a billion-dollar share buyback boosted investor sentiment.

The benchmark Nikkei 225 index initially opened down 1.08 per cent, but pared the losses as shares in SoftBank, a market heavyweight, soared and helped turn the tide for the broader market.

SoftBank catapulted 12.50 per cent to 4,950 yen after it said on Monday it would buy back about 14 per cent of its shares for more than US$4.0 billion.

The buyback - which tends to beef up a stock's value - comes after SoftBank's Tokyo-listed shares dropped 28 per cent since the start of the year amid wild volatility on global markets.

Tokyo's Nikkei was 0.34 per cent, or 54.63 points, higher at 16,077.21 about 35 minutes after the opening bell, while the broader Topix index of all first-section shares was 0.41 per cent, or 5.30 points, up at 1,297.53.

On Monday, the blue-chip Nikkei surged more than seven percent as bargain-hunting and a weaker yen drove a rebound from last week's hammering on global equity markets.

"Japanese markets have been swung around by outside factors, but those factors are becoming more positive," Toshihiko Matsuno, chief strategist at SMBC Friend Securities, told Bloomberg News.
"But still, volatility is very high and market sentiment is fluctuating. "It is too early to say we have seen the bottom."

On Tuesday, the yen eased further against the dollar - giving a welcome lift to exporters.

The greenback rose to 114.57 yen from 113.95 yen on Monday in Tokyo.

US markets were closed Monday for the Presidents' Day holiday.


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