Tokyo stocks opened higher on the back of a weaker yen

News Hour:

Tokyo stocks opened higher on Wednesday on the back of a weaker yen while investors waited for US President Donald Trump’s speech to a joint session of Congress.

The dollar rose to 113.15 yen from 112.75 yen in New York on Tuesday afternoon, lifting exporters as a cheaper yen increase their profitability, reports BSS.

The benchmark Nikkei 225 index gained 0.41 percent, or 78.20 points, to 19,197.19 in early trade, while the Topix index of all first-section shares was up 0.38 percent, or 5.77 points, at 1,541.09.

While the weaker yen supported the market, eyes were on Trump’s address, which is set to begin at around 0200 GMT.

Trump has said he will boost military spending while cutting back on social spending programs. The market is also looking for details on a tax-cut plan, which Trump has described as “phenomenal” and the promise of which has propelled US stocks to record highs since the presidential election.

Markets will be closely watching the speech to “to see whether legs are starting to develop on his visionary statements of increased infrastructure spending and tax”, Tapas Strickland, an economist at National Australia Bank, wrote in a commentary.

“Overnight moves suggest markets have already judged that Trump will be again long on vision, but short on detail.”

London, Frankfurt, and Paris finished with small gains on Tuesday, while US stocks retreated, with the Dow at last declining after notching 12 straight record closes.

In Tokyo trading, Toyota rose 1.55 percent to 6,464 yen while Sony gained 1.49 percent to 3,530 yen. SoftBank increased 1.88 percent to 8,520 yen after announcing a fresh $1.7 billion investment in US satellite telecom firms OneWeb and Intelsat, which plan to merge.

The investment will give SoftBank, which in December announced it was
injecting $1 billion in OneWeb, a 39.9 percent voting stake in the combined company plus additional non-voting shares.

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