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Tokyo stocks climb on firmer U.S. equities, yen’s fall

JIJI

Stocks advanced on the Tokyo Stock Exchange Friday as investors took heart from Wall Street’s overnight rise and the yen’s drop.

The 225-issue Nikkei average gained 190.26 points, or 1.03 percent, to end at 18,620.75. On Thursday, the key market gauge lost 1.71 points.

The Topix index of all first-section issues closed up 15.77 points, or 1.07 percent, at 1,488.58, after rising 1.39 point the previous day.

A wide range of issues attracted buying from the outset of Friday’s trading after major U.S. stock indexes including the Dow Jones industrial average advanced overnight.

Investors welcomed U.S. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin’s remarks in a speech on Thursday suggesting that the administration of President Donald Trump will announce a major tax reform plan at an early date, brokers said.

Although the market’s topside was somewhat capped by a wait-and-see mood ahead of the first round of the French presidential election on Sunday, Tokyo stocks maintained strength throughout the day, with the Nikkei average briefly rising more than 200 points late in the afternoon session.

“In addition to the dollar’s stability above ¥109, slight recovery of hope for (economic policy measures by) Trump” following Mnuchin’s remarks boosted the market, said Hideyuki Suzuki, head of the investment market research department at SBI Securities Co.

An official of a bank-affiliated securities firm said that investor worries about the French presidential election receded somewhat after an opinion poll showed a lead by centrist Emmanuel Macron in the race.

But an official of another securities firm said that a wait-and-see mood remained strong before the election as the surprising results of Britain’s national referendum on its departure from the European Union and the U.S. presidential election last year were still fresh in investors’ mind.

The Tokyo market’s direction is likely to change next week depending on the outcome of the French election, the official of the bank-affiliated securities firm said.

Rising issues far outnumbered falling ones 1,645 to 288 in the TSE’s first section, while 83 issues were unchanged.

Volume slightly increased to 1.862 billion shares from Thursday’s 1.841 billion shares.

Many export-oriented issued gained ground thanks to the weaker yen. They included automakers Toyota, Subaru, Nissan and Honda, industrial robot maker Fanuc, semiconductor-related Tokyo Electron and electronic parts producer Murata Manufacturing.

Financial institutions, such as mega-bank groups Mitsubishi UFJ, Sumitomo Mitsui and Mizuho and insurers Dai-ichi Life and Tokio Marine, were also buoyant.

By contrast, Fujifilm dived 4.04 percent a day after announcing the discovery of inappropriate accounting at an overseas unit.

Electronics and machinery maker Toshiba and Yaskawa Electric also met with selling.

In index futures trading on the Osaka Exchange, the key June contract on the Nikkei average finished up 180 points at 18,650.