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Tokyo: Stocks open higher helped by cheaper yen

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[TOKYO] Tokyo stocks opened higher on Friday helped by a cheaper yen against the US dollar, extending rallies in global stocks which shrugged off a US-China tariff row.

The benchmark Nikkei 225 index was up 0.31 per cent or 70.37 points at 22,481.19 in early trade, while the broader Topix index was higher by 0.51 per cent or 8.64 points at 1,706.86.

The US dollar crept higher, changing hands at 111.39 yen in early Asian trade, against 111.23 yen in New York and 110.85 yen in Tokyo on Thursday.

"The dollar strengthened after fresh exchanges of tariffs between the US and China and this provides a tailwind for Japanese shares," Yoshihiro Ito, chief strategist at Okasan Online Securities said in a commentary.

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Investors were mainly on the sidelines however, ahead of a speech by US Federal Reserve chief Jerome Powell at a central bank gathering in the US city of Jackson Hole later Friday, he added.

In Tokyo, some blue-chip exporters were higher, with Sony trading up 0.60 per cent at 6,020 yen, Panasonic up 0.40 per cent at 1,350.5 yen and game giant Nintendo up 0.64 per cent at 37,640 yen.

Steelmakers were lower, with Nippon Steel Sumitomo Metal trading down 2.35 per cent at 2,219 yen and its rival JFE lower by 2.36 per cent at 2,396 yen.

Automakers were also among the losers, with Nissan slipping 0.53 per cent to 1,030.5 yen and Honda down 0.33 per cent at 3,307 yen.

On Wall Street, the Dow suffered a modest 0.3-per cent decline to close at 25,656.98, largely shrugging off the latest US-China tariffs.

AFP