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Tokyo: Stocks rise amid global calm


[Tokyo] Japanese stocks rose, with the Topix index headed for its first gain this week, after calm returned to global markets as China halted trading for a two-day holiday. Energy explorers led gains.

The Topix gained 1.4 per cent to 1,486.33 as of 9.02am in Tokyo as all of its 33 industry groups rose. The Nikkei 225 Stock Average added 1.4 per cent to 18,345.71. The yen traded at 120.57 per dollar after weakening 0.8 per cent on Wednesday. The rout in global stocks let up Wednesday, with US equities surging in late trading to halt a two-day slump after Chinese shares ended their last day of trading this week with the smallest loss since mid-August.

"One modest positive today is the fact China is offline for its Victory Day commemorations," said Chris Weston, Melbourne- based chief markets strategist at IG Ltd. "So traders and investors will be focused on domestic data, valuations and trying to understand how to navigate these crazy markets."  

Futures on the Standard & Poor's 500 Index added 0.3 per cent after the underlying measure rose 1.8 per cent on Wednesday. The Stoxx Europe 600 Index added 0.3 per cent.

A rout in global equities last month, sparked by China's devaluation of its currency, erased more than US$5.7 trillion from the value of global shares amid growing concern that the world's second-biggest economy may be in worse shape than analysts had estimated.


China on Wednesday moved to limit trading of stock-index futures by lowering the bar for "abnormal trading" and increasing margin requirements and settlement fees.

The effort to support stocks is part of a broader push to ensure that nothing detracts from the memorial parade marking the end of World War II, which the government is using to demonstrate China's growing military and political might. Mainland markets are closed for the rest of the week and Hong Kong is out Thursday.

Amid continuing concerns that China's slowdown will weigh on the global economy, traders are now pricing in a 32 per cent chance that the Federal Reserve will raise US interest rates this month, down from 38 per cent on Monday. Policy makers have a little more than two weeks to assess incoming data before deciding whether to act on rates.


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