Tokyo stocks open higher with eyes on key global events

Tokyo, Dec 9 (AFP/APP): Tokyo stocks opened higher on Monday extending rallies on Wall Street after strong jobs data, as investors closely watched key events this week including central bank meetings and the UK elections.

The benchmark Nikkei 225 index climbed 0.34 percent or 79.11 points to 23,433.51 in early trade, while the broader Topix index was up 0.36 percent or 6.11 points at 1,719.47.

Investors are eyeing the two-day US Federal Reserve meeting through Wednesday and the British general election on Thursday, Okasan Online Securities said in a commentary.

Traders also remain on edge ahead of December 15 — the day on which the US is due to impose tariffs on more goods from China.

“For the time being, the Nikkei 225 will likely move in a volatile fashion as key events come one after another,” it said.

A partial trade pact with China remains close at hand, a top White House economic aide said Friday, days before another round of US tariffs is due to take effect.

“The deal is still close,” National Economic Council Director Larry Kudlow told CNBC. “It is probably even a wee bit closer than when I first made that statement in November.”

Kudlow was guarded in discussing the tariff round due to hit around $160 billion in Chinese imports — including popular consumer items like mobile phones — beginning December 15.

“There’s no arbitrary deadline here,” he said, adding that the ultimate decision was Trump’s alone.

Should the December 15 tariffs take effect, virtually all the merchandise the United States imports annually from China will be covered by punitive tariffs.

But the market remained somewhat positive on the prospects of the US-China trade deal, as it “continues to price in peak tariff and a probable rollback of the last tranche of tariffs imposed in September,” Stephen Innes, chief Asia market strategist at AxiTrader, said in a note.

The dollar fetched 108.57 yen in early Asian trade, against 108.56 yen in New York on Friday.

In Tokyo, some blue-chip exporters were higher, with Sony trading up 1.19 percent at 7,152 yen and game giant Nintendo up 2.31 percent at 44,770 yen.

Market heavyweight Fast Retailing, operator of clothing giant Uniqlo, was up 0.47 percent at 64,220 yen and mega bank Mitsubishi UFJ was up 0.43 percent at 587.2 yen.

On Wall Street, the Dow ended up 1.2 percent at 28,015.06.

Asian markets rise on strong US jobs data, trade talks in focus


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