TOKYO:- Tokyo stocks rose 0.73 percent Thursday morning thanks to a weaker yen and a record close on Wall Street, while reports said the ruling Liberal Democratic Party was set for a landslide win in national elections this month.
The Nikkei 225 index at the Tokyo Stock Exchange was up 129.12 points at 17,849.55, while the Topix index of all first-section shares climbed 0.76 percent, or 10.83 points, to 1,440.58.
Tokyo’s early gains came as the dollar pushed closer towards 120 yen — a level it has not seen since July 2007. The greenback fetched 119.91 yen in midday trade, against 119.80 yen in New York.
A weak yen is positive for Japanese exporters as it makes them more competitive abroad and inflates their repatriated profits.
The dollar moved higher after the US Federal Reserve’s Beige Book said “a number” of the central bank’s 12 districts “remained optimistic about the outlook for future economic activity”.
The report, a collection of anecdotal information on current economic conditions, is closely watched by investors as a barometer of the health of the economy.
For the first time in more than a year, the Fed dropped its “modest” and “moderate” descriptions of overall growth, saying reports suggest “that national economic activity continued to expand” in the past two months.
The news — which came a day after healthy construction and sales figures — was embraced on Wall Street. The Dow rose 0.18 percent to its second straight record close, while the S&P 500 gained 0.38 percent, also a new all-time high, and the Nasdaq added 0.39 percent.
In Tokyo on Thursday, markets also got a lift from media polls suggesting Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s business-friendly ruling party was on track to sweep Japan’s December 14 election.
Hisao Matsuura, senior strategist at Nomura Securities, said the Nikkei could rise above a 2007 high of 18,261.98 ahead of the election.
“We can’t rule out that possibility although the pace of gains warrants some caution,” he told Dow Jones Newswires.
In share trading, Toyota rose 1.15 percent to 7,680.0 yen and Sony added 0.90 percent to 2,619.5 yen but market heavyweight Fast Retailing, operator of the Uniqlo clothing chain, was down 0.46 percent at 43,590.0 yen.