Tokyo stocks opened higher following record closes on Wall Street

News Hour:

Tokyo stocks opened higher on Wednesday following record closes on Wall Street while the yen remained soft. On Tuesday all three major US equity indices finished at new records for the seventh time in eight sessions, as enthusiasm for President Donald Trump’s economic plans spurs gains.

The dollar held firm against the yen amid intensifying talk that the Federal Reserve could lift interest rates as soon as next month. The greenback was trading at 113.68 yen on Wednesday against 113.69 yen in New York on Tuesday afternoon, reports BSS.

The Japanese currency last week had strengthened, with the dollar falling below 113 yen. A weaker yen generally makes Japanese exports more competitive overseas.

Market expectations are also rising that Trump will soon unveil details of a major tax cut plan, perhaps at his February 28 address to a joint session of Congress.

Tokyo’s benchmark Nikkei 225 index gained 0.14 percent, or 26.27 points, to 19,407.71 in early trading, while the Topix index of all first-section issues was up 0.17 percent, or 2.71 points, at 1,558.31.

“Japanese stocks will likely test the upside on the back of higher US stocks and a stable yen rate,” Okasan Online Securities chief strategist Yoshihiro Ito said in a commentary.

Rakuten soared 9.10 percent to 1,126.5 yen after Japan’s online commerce leader said it would purchase more than eight percent of its own shares. Toshiba rose 2.99 percent to 189.2 yen on expectations for a planned sale of a stake in its microchip business.

The Nikkei business daily said Wednesday Toshiba had asked potential bidders to peg the operation’s value at two trillion yen ($17.6 billion) or more, aiming to maximize income from the sale of its crown jewel.

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