Tokyo stocks close higher on US stimulus

TOKYO (AFP/APP): Tokyo stocks closed higher Thursday as investors mulled the effects of a $2 trillion US spending plan on the global market and kept an eye on US economic data.

The benchmark Nikkei 225 index rose 0.72 percent, or 210.07 points, to end at 29,388.87, while the broader Topix index advanced 0.19 percent, or 3.64 points, to 1,957.64.

“The Nikkei index opened higher following gains on tech shares in the US… but a wait-and-see attitude grew ahead of the announcement of US economic data,” said senior strategist Yoshihiro Ito of Okasan Securities.

On Wall Street, the blue-chip Dow ended lower, but both the S&P 500 and Nasdaq Composite advanced as President Joe Biden unveiled a $2 trillion infrastructure spending plan.

Traders were keeping an eye on major US data including the service sector index by the Institute for Supply Management, unemployment figures and non-farm payrolls.

They also weighed the Bank of Japan’s Tankan business survey, which showed optimism among major manufacturers for the first time since the Covid-19 pandemic began.

The quarterly poll of around 10,000 companies showed a reading of 5 among big manufacturers. A positive figure means more manufacturers see business conditions as favourable than those that consider them unfavourable.

In Tokyo trading, Toshiba jumped 4.54 percent to 3,910 yen after reports that two US data-storage firms are separately exploring a potential deal for Japanese semiconductor company Kioxia, in which Toshiba holds a stake of around 40 percent.

SoftBank Group climbed 0.65 percent to 9,391 yen while Sony rose 0.47 percent to 11,650 yen.

Automakers were lower with Toyota falling 2.24 percent to 8,423 yen, Honda dipping 0.57 percent to 3,300 yen and Nissan dropping 4.09 percent to 590.7 yen.

The dollar fetched 110.76 yen in Asian trade, unchanged from the level in New York late Wednesday.