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Tokyo: Stocks rise on US rebound; weak yen


[TOKYO] Tokyo stocks inched higher on Wednesday, supported by a rebound on Wall Street and a weaker yen, despite a ratcheting-up of rhetoric over a US-China trade war.

The benchmark Nikkei 225 index rose 0.13 per cent or 27.26 points to 21,319.55, while the broader Topix index was up 0.14 per cent or 2.33 points at 1,706.13.

"A rebound in US shares and a relatively weak yen were positive factors today," said Hikaru Sato, senior technical analyst at Daiwa Securities.

"But buying remained limited as investors are still concerned about several uncertain elements, including a US-led trade war," Mr Sato told AFP.

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The dollar was trading at 106.56 yen against 106.60 yen in New York on Tuesday, rising from levels below 106 seen a day earlier.

A weak yen is positive for Japanese exporters as it inflates their earnings.

"Japanese stocks are likely to test a rebound as sentiment has improved after sharp rebounds in US shares and the yen's drop to the mid-106 range," Okasan Online Securities said in a commentary.

Masayuki Kubota, chief strategist at Rakuten Securities, said it was "time to buy Japanese stocks for long-term investment" while being on guard against risks in the immediate future.

Investors need to watch out for risks from US-China trade frictions, criticism of Facebook and other IT giants and the yen's appreciation as well as domestic and regional politics, he said in a report.

China on Wednesday strongly condemned a US list of US$50 billion in Chinese imports set to be hit by tariffs and warned it was ready to retaliate.

However on Tuesday Wall Street stocks bounced back from the previous day's rout as tech shares gained.

In Tokyo trade, Honda jumped 1.30 per cent to 3,662 yen on the weaker yen and robust US sales results for March.

Toyota gained 0.13 per cent to 6,739 yen while Nissan rose 1.00 per cent to 1,109 yen.

Market heavyweight Fast Retailing, the operator of Uniqlo clothing chain, surged 2.98 per cent to 45,200 yen.

Sony was down 0.25 per cent at 5,137 yen after it announced its wholly owned Sony Music Entertainment had sold part of its equity stake in Spotify on its stock debut.

The combined sum of gains from the sale and book value appreciation was about US$1 billion based on the sale price and Tuesday's market closing price.

Sony Music had a 5.7-per cent equity stake when the music streamline giant soared to a value of more than US$26 billion in its long-awaited stock debut in New York.