Tokyo shares open higher on Wall Street gains, higher dollar

Tokyo, Jan 17 (AFP/APP): Tokyo shares opened higher on Friday after US markets finished at new record highs thanks to bright corporate earnings and a higher dollar that also encouraged investors.

The Nikkei 225 index added 0.76 percent or 181.87 points to 24,115.00 in early trade, while the broader Topix index gained 0.49 percent or 8.45 points to 1,737.17.

“The Japanese market today should show solid performance, buoyed by the strength of US shares which continue to renew their records,” Okasan Online Securities said in a note.

Investors are eyeing shares that are expected to deliver strong business outlooks, as the Japanese corporate earnings season kicks off later this month, it said.

Investors are also “welcoming the yen’s slide” over recent days, which is good for Japanese exporters, and is likely to push shares up, it added.

The dollar stood at 110.18 yen, flat from New York on Thursday where it surged from the 109.97 yen seen in Tokyo in Thursday afternoon.

Optimism is taking hold in the global market, particularly after the US and China signed a fresh trade agreement, said Stephen Innes, chief Asia market strategist at AxiTrader.

“With significant downside risks to the global economy turned aside, and worries over a possible recession diminishing, there is a sprouting belief supported by evidentiary proof in the data that global growth could gain momentum over the coming months,” he wrote in a note.

For now, strong earnings forecasts from Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing (TSMC), a key Apple supplier and the world’s largest contract chipmaker, also lifted investor spirits, particularly for chip-related shares, Okasan added.

Other bright news from the US, including solid retail sales data, “indicates that US shares will continue to drive the global market,” Okasan said.

Among gainers were chipmakers, with Tokyo Electron up 1.66 percent to 25,465 yen.

Sony added 0.72 percent to 7,993. Toyota edged up 0.10 percent to 7,695 yen.

SoftBank Group rose 0.80 percent to 4,911 yen.

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