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Tokyo: Stocks open higher with eyes on US Fed meeting


[TOKYO] Tokyo stocks opened higher on Monday as investor focus shifted from concerns about the global economy, which had weighed on Wall Street, to a US Federal Reserve meeting this week.

The benchmark Nikkei 225 index was up 0.18 per cent or 39.06 points at 21,413.89 in early trade, while the broader Topix index was up 0.17 per cent or 2.63 points at 1,594.79.

The two-day US Fed meeting that ends on Wednesday is "the most important event this week" and investors are watching for the pace of rate hikes in 2019, Takashi Hiroki, chief strategist at Monex, said in a commentary.

"Falls in US shares (last week) are said to be caused by weak economic data in China and Europe, but these are not new factors," he said, adding that current market sentiment is vulnerable to "even the slightest worries given the prevailing uncertainty".

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In Tokyo, SoftBank's initial public offering on Wednesday will also likely have an impact on the market, analysts said.

The dollar fetched 113.36 yen in early Asian trade against 113.29 yen in New York late Friday.

Banks were higher, with Mitsubishi UFJ trading up 0.68 per cent to 587.1 yen, Sumitomo Mitsui Financial up 0.53 per cent at 3,938 yen and Mizuho Financial up 0.55 per cent at 180.3 per cent.

Nissan was down 0.28 per cent at 929.8 yen ahead of its board meeting that is expected to discuss corporate governance and choosing a replacement for former chairman Carlos Ghosn, after his arrest and dismissal.

Rival Toyota was up 0.21 per cent at 6,844 yen and Honda was up 0.42 per cent at 3,067 yen.

On Wall Street on Friday, the Dow ended down 1.7 per cent at 24,168.96.