Tokyo stocks lead Asia gains

Jan 4, 2017

Stock Exchange

Asian markets were mostly up Wednesday, with Tokyo leading the charge as it returned for the first day of trading after an extended new year break.

The gains follow a strong performance in global markets on Tuesday, as investors reacted to bright economic indicators pointing to further growth, particularly in the United States.

The dollar’s gain against the yen also perked up sentiment in Tokyo, as a weaker Japanese currency provided a boost for local exporters.

The benchmark Nikkei 225 index at the Tokyo Stock Exchange was up more than two percent in morning trade, while the broader Topix index of all first-section issues added around one percent shortly after opening.

Hong Kong and Shanghai were slightly up following gains the previous day, while Australian and South Korean shares were flat.

Shares (Berlin: DI6.BE – news) traded in London reached a new high Tuesday, while the Dow Jones Industrial Average in New York continued to push towards the 20,000 milestone.

The Tokyo bourse finished 2016 at its highest year-end close in two decades, boosted by expectations for big government spending under US President-elect Donald Trump to further power the world’s biggest economy.

But experts also called for caution, as Trump’s politics and policies remain uncertain at best.

“Markets have been rallying quite strongly on this notion of fiscal hope but, as we move into the reality of 2017 and what a Trump presidency will actually look like, there is some risk of fiscal disappointment,” Paul Eitelman, a strategist at Russell Investments, told Bloomberg Radio.

“Any disappointment at this point could be a source of downside risk for markets from here, so we’re incrementally being a bit more cautious,” he said.

Troubled Japanese autoparts maker Takata jumped more than 17 percent in early trade in Tokyo Tuesday, as investors reacted to reports that it was close to settling a US criminal probe into an exploding airbag scandal. – AFP

 

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