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Tokyo: Stocks open higher on steady US jobs data

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[TOKYO] Tokyo stocks opened higher on Monday, encouraged by gains on Wall Street after positive March US jobs data, with investors looking ahead to other events including Brexit talks.

The benchmark Nikkei 225 index was up 0.35 per cent or 76.23 points at 21,883.73 in early trade, while the broader Topix index was up 0.11 per cent or 1.79 points at 1,627.54.

US shares enjoyed gains on Friday, after the Labor Department reported that the US added 196,000 net new positions last month, well above expectations, while the jobless rate held steady at 3.8 per cent.

The readings helped tamp down fears of a severe economic slowdown.

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The dollar fetched 111.66 yen in early Asian trade, against 111.70 yen in New York on Friday.

"The investor focus this week is four-fold," Hirokazu Kabeya, chief global strategist at Daiwa Securities, said in a commentary.

"The first will be the issue of Brexit... the April 10 EU summit will be a major climax, and if the leaders will be able to avoid a no-deal Brexit, risks will be avoided short-term," he said.

The second factor is Japanese corporate earnings reports to be released from this week, he said.

The third is China's economic indicators including trade data for March due on Friday, and the fourth is US economic data, particularly Michigan University's consumer sentiment index due on Friday, Kabeya of Daiwa said.

In Tokyo, some electronics and precision makers were higher, with Olympus gaining 0.99 per cent to 1,221 yen and Canon up 0.58 per cent at 3,289 yen.

Market heavyweight and Uniqlo casual wear operator Fast Retailing was up 1.30 per cent at 55,270 yen.

In New York, the Dow ended up 0.2 per cent at 26,424.99.

AFP