Tokyo stocks up as yen eases

GMT 09:05 2015 Friday ,01 May

Arab Today, arab today Tokyo stocks up as yen eases

Tokyo stocks
Tokyo - AFP

Tokyo stocks reversed early losses to end slightly higher Friday thanks to a weaker yen while the euro pushed on following an upbeat eurozone inflation reading.

Sydney rose on news that manufacturing activity in China -- a crucial market for many Australian firms -- recorded another modest expansion in April.

The Nikkei 225 index at the Tokyo Stock Exchange edged up 11.62 percent to 1,9531.63. Sydney gained 0.43 percent, or 24.90 points, to 5,814.90 and Wellington advanced 0.10 percent, or 6.06 points, to 5,797.40.

All other major Asian markets were closed for public holidays.

New York's three main indexes provided a weak lead, falling sharply on Thursday as a dive in unemployment claims was overshadowed by a weak round of earnings reports and data showing only slim growth in consumer spending.

The Dow fell 1.08 percent, the S&P 500 shed 1.01 percent and the Nasdaq was down 1.64 percent.

Tokyo, which tumbled 2.69 percent Thursday, recovered from an initial sell-off as the dollar jumped back towards 120 yen. In the afternoon the greenback bought 119.75 yen, up from 119.38 yen in New York late Thursday.

Japan said Friday that the nation's core inflation picked up for the first time in 10 months in March.

Core inflation, which excludes volatile fresh food prices, rose 2.2 percent year-on-year in March partly on higher utility bills, logging the first increase since May 2014, data from the internal affairs ministry showed.

However, stripping out the impact of a sales tax rise last year, inflation was a tepid 0.2 percent, well short of the Bank of Japan's 2.0 percent target.

- Greece deal hopes -

On currency markets the euro fetched $1.1216 and 134.36 yen against $1.1224 and 134.00 yen in New York.

The single currency jumped after figures showed eurozone inflation at zero in April, the first time it has been out of negative territory in four months, while Spain's economy grew in January-March at its fastest pace since 2007.

Euro-buying has also been supported by hopes Greece will be able to strike a bailout reform deal with its creditors that will help it avert a bailout and remain in the eurozone.

"Players are buying back the euro due to some brighter economic indicators," said Minori Uchida, head of Tokyo global markets research at Bank of Tokyo-Mitsubishi UFJ.

However, Uchida added: "But this does not mean a reverse of the trend. The euro is still subject to selling pressure."

China's official purchasing managers index came in at 50.1 last month, the same as in March when the gauge expanded for the first time this year. Anything above 50 points to growth, while anything below indicates a contraction.

While positive, the figures suggest the Asian economy is still struggling with a sharp slowdown.

Oil prices were mixed after a rally on Thursday that came on hopes a glut in the United States is easing.

US benchmark West Texas Intermediate for June delivery rose nine cents to $59.72 a barrel, while Brent for June eased seven cents to $66.71.

Gold fetched $1,181.14 against $1,202.84 late Thursday.

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