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Tokyo: Stocks close higher; SoftBank jumps on listing hopes


[TOKYO] Tokyo stocks closed higher on Monday, supported by record closes on Wall Street, while SoftBank jumped more than 3 per cent after it said it was considering listing its mobile unit.

The benchmark Nikkei 225 index gained 0.26 per cent, or 61.06 points, to end at 23,714.88. The broader Topix index ended up 0.41 per cent, or 7.66 points, at 1,883.90.

The Nikkei will likely rise further this week, said Masayuki Kubota, chief strategist at Rakuten Securities.

"As global stock markets continue rallying, we expect foreign buying will go to Japanese stocks which have been lagging behind," he said in a report.

Japanese corporate earnings have also been robust, he added.

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The yen picked up against the dollar Monday, but Mr Kubota said it was unlikely to rise sharply due to expectations for interest rate increases by the US central bank this year.

A strong yen is negative for Japanese exporters as it erodes their profits when repatriated.

The dollar was at 110.73 yen on Monday afternoon, against 111.06 yen in New York late Friday.

SoftBank Group closed up 3.22 per cent at 9,223 yen after surging nearly 6 per cent a few minutes after the market opened.

The technology investor drew buying after it said listing its mobile unit was a management "option" following reports that it could raise some $18 billion with a public offering.

Mitsubishi UFJ Financial was 1.79 per cent higher at 888.8 yen while precision instruments makers were also higher, with Canon closing up 0.88 per cent at 4,319 yen and Nikon up 1.11 per cent at 2,264 yen.

On Wall Street Friday, all three major indices again ended at records, with the Dow Jones Industrial Average up 0.9 per cent to close at 25,803.19.

The US market will be closed Monday for Martin Luther King Day.


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