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Tokyo: Stocks open higher on upbeat data, weak yen

[TOKYO] Tokyo stocks opened higher Monday on upbeat Japanese data and a weaker yen, with the North Korea crisis in focus as the US pushes for a UN Security Council vote on tough new sanctions against the nuclear-armed state.

The benchmark Nikkei 225 index rose 0.89 per cent, or 171.86 points, to 19,446.68 in early trade while the broader Topix index was up 0.89 per cent, or 14.16 points, at 1,607.70.

"Players are relieved to see the dollar recovering to the 108 yen level, which supported exporters," said Toshikazu Horiuchi, a broker at IwaiCosmo Securities.

In forex markets, the US dollar rebounded to 108.22 yen from 107.83 yen in New York late Friday.

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A cheaper yen inflates the profitability of exporters' repatriated profits, bolstering demand for their shares.

Investors also cheered a better-than-expected 8 per cent on-month rise in Japanese machinery orders for July - a key leading indicator of corporate investment.

There were fears that North Korea's leader Kim Jong Un could mark Saturday's anniversary of the country's foundation with another missile test, but that failed to materialise.

Now, all eyes are on the UN Security Council where Washington is pushing for a vote on Monday on fresh punitive measures against Pyongyang following its sixth nuclear test - including an oil embargo and asset freezes - despite resistance from China and Russia.

"Cautious trading is expected to continue for now ahead of the UN Security Council" meeting, Mr Horiuchi said.

In share trading, the weaker yen boosted automakers as Toyota rose 0.56 per cent to 6,255 yen with rival Nissan up 0.64 per cent at 1,096.5 yen.

Sony jumped 2.11 per cent to 4,389 yen, Panasonic rose 0.78 per cent to 1,480 yen, while video game giant Nintendo gained 0.52 per cent to 36,190 yen.

AFP

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