Tokyo stocks open higher on virus stimulus measures

The benchmark Nikkei 225 index was up 1.18 per cent, or 201.06 points, at 17,212.59 in early trade, while the broader Topix index edged up 1.29 per cent, or 16.37 points, to 1,284.83. — AFP pic
The benchmark Nikkei 225 index was up 1.18 per cent, or 201.06 points, at 17,212.59 in early trade, while the broader Topix index edged up 1.29 per cent, or 16.37 points, to 1,284.83. — AFP pic

TOKYO, March 18 ― Tokyo stocks opened higher today, extending rallies on Wall Street as the US and European governments signalled more stimulus measures to address the economic hit from the coronavirus.

The benchmark Nikkei 225 index was up 1.18 per cent, or 201.06 points, at 17,212.59 in early trade, while the broader Topix index edged up 1.29 per cent, or 16.37 points, to 1,284.83.

“Japanese shares are seen led by purchases on the backdrop of rallies in European and US bourses with... a cheap yen,” Mizuho Securities said in a note.

“Gains will likely continue on expectations for an autonomous rebound after sharp drops in recent sessions and expectations for large-scale US economic stimulus.”

“On the other hand, worries over the further spread of the new coronavirus in Europe will continue to weigh on the market,” it added.

The dollar fetched ¥107.48 (RM4.37) in early Asian trade, against ¥107.64 in New York late yesterday.

In Tokyo, major exporters were higher, with Toyota surging 4.65 per cent to ¥6,661, Sony soaring 6.01 per cent to ¥6,184, and Olympus rallying 6.40 per cent to ¥1,511.

Panasonic was up 0.88 per cent at ¥732.2 while construction machine maker Komatsu was up 2.71 per cent at ¥1,627.5.

SoftBank Group was down 8.81 per cent at ¥3,329 after a report said the Japanese company may not buy US$3 billion of shares in WeWork from existing investors as part of its planned bailout of the US-based co-working facilities provider.

Japan posted a trade surplus of ¥1.1 trillion ($10 billion) last month but imports from China nearly halved from a year earlier, according to data released by the finance ministry 10 minutes before the opening bell.

The drop in imports is seen as part of the impact of the coronavirus on economic activities, analysts said.

On Wall Street, the Dow ended up 5.2 per cent at 21,237.38. ― AFP

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