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Dollar tops ¥98.50 on stock gains

JIJI

The dollar advanced above ¥98.50 in Tokyo trading Wednesday, lifted by a stock market rally on hopes for a strong earnings report from Toyota Motor Corp.

At 5 p.m., the dollar stood at ¥98.56-57, up from ¥98.22-22 at the same time Tuesday. The euro was at $1.3502-3506, little changed from $1.3491-3491, and at ¥133.10-17, up from ¥132.52-52.

The greenback jumped as high as around ¥98.70-80 in the early afternoon as a media report that Toyota would upgrade its annual earnings projections helped Tokyo stock prices rise sharply, traders said.

Later in the afternoon, the leading automaker said it now projects a group operating profit of ¥2.2 trillion for fiscal 2013 ending next March, up from the previous profit estimate of ¥1.94 trillion, thanks to the yen’s weakening.

“Toyota’s reported strong earnings helped ease risk aversion among investors, promoting yen selling,” an official at a foreign exchange brokerage said.

Besides stock price movements, however, there were no fresh incentives for currency trading, traders said.

“After dollar buying on higher stock prices ran its course, transactions were brought to standstill,” an official at a major Japanese bank said.

Players were also cautious about active trading before the U.S. government releases July-September gross domestic product data Thursday and nonfarm payroll data for October on Friday.

The closely watched jobs report comes as the U.S. Federal Reserve is widely expected to put off beginning to taper off its quantitative easing until at least March, following the recent congressional budget and debt-ceiling fights.