Tokyo stocks close higher despite banking jitters

TOKYO (AFP): Tokyo stocks closed higher on Monday, tracking modest gains on Wall Street last week despite renewed fears over the health of the global banking system.

The benchmark Nikkei 225 index rose 0.33 percent, or 91.62 points, to end at 27,476.87, while the broader Topix index added 0.33 percent, or 6.52 points, to close at 1,961.84.

Buyers in Tokyo cheered stronger US shares, and the Nikkei recovered after dipping into the red as some players sold on short-term upswings, analysts said.

“The market rebounded because investors maintained a healthy appetite and bought shares as soon as the index headed down,” IwaiCosmo Securities said.
A broad range of stocks advanced, including those whose performance remains relatively stable regardless of market conditions, such as rail operators and pharmaceutical firms.

But heavily weighted semiconductor shares slipped after falls of US tech stocks last week. The dollar stood at 130.99 yen, against 130.70 yen in New York late Friday.
Nintendo rose 0.73 percent to 5,095 yen. Uniqlo operator Fast Retailing added 1.00 percent to 27,645 yen, while Toyota rebounded and added 0.34 percent to 1,790 yen.

Advantest, which makes tests for semiconductors, lost 0.58 percent to 11,980 yen, and Tokyo Electron fell 2.50 percent to 48,750 yen.

Banking shares also slipped on international concern over the health of the financial sector. Mitsubishi UFJ Financial Group fell 0.53 percent to 825.6 yen.

Sumitomo Mitsui Financial Group lost 1.02 percent to 5,136 yen.

After the closing bell, the Nikkei business daily reported that the group had decided to become the top shareholder of Vietnam’s VP Bank in a deal worth 200 billion yen ($1.5 billion).