Tokyo Stocks Close Flat As Yen-fuelled Rally Slows

Tokyo stocks close flat as yen-fuelled rally slows

TOKYO, (Pakistan Point News - APP - 17th Nov, 2016 ) - Tokyo stocks closed slightly up Thursday at a fresh nine-month high as a rally fuelled by a weaker Yen lost steam. The benchmark Nikkei 225 index had risen nearly 10 percent by Wednesday's close in a sharp run up following Donald Trump's surprising victory in the US presidential election. The surge was triggered by the dollar's jump against the yen -- a plus for Japanese exporters -- on expectations of a big fiscal spending package from a Trump-led government.

"The market is taking a breather after its recent strong rally," said Hiroichi Nishi, an equities manager at SMBC Nikko Securities. "Financial shares had risen so much that they were a target for profit taking." The benchmark Nikkei 225 index, which closed at its highest level since early February on Wednesday, eked out a gain of 0.42 points to end at 17,862.63, while the Topix index of all first-section issues ended up 0.10 percent, or 1.

43 points, at 1,423.08. The Bank of Japan, meanwhile, announced plans to buy unlimited amounts of bonds with certain maturities. The move was a response to a recent spike in global bond yields, including Japanese government debt, after Trump's win last week. "It's a clear cut message from the BoJ that it doesn't want to see further increases in yields, and lower interest rates for Japan are favourable for a weaker yen," said Mamoru Shimode, chief equity strategist at Resona Bank.

"Stocks are taking a breather today, but a recent rally is likely to continue for a bit longer, riding on all sorts of expectations for new US policies," he told Bloomberg news. In forex markets, the Dollar was changing hands at 109.38 yen on Thursday against 109.09 yen in New York on Wednesday afternoon. A weak yen is generally favourable for Japanese stocks as it helps the country's exporters by making their products more competitive overseas and inflating the yen value of profits earned abroad.

Investors were now waiting for details of a meeting between Trump and Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe set for Thursday in New York, amid concerns that the president-elect's trade policies could be bad for Japan. In share trading, e-commerce giant Rakuten fell 2.60 percent to 1,138.5 yen with investors apparently unimpressed by its massive shirt sponsorship deal with Spanish football giants FC Barcelona. The contract, one of world football's most lucrative shirt sponsorship deals, is worth at least 55 million Euros ($59 million) a year. Mitsubishi UFJ Financial Group dropped 1.40 percent to 673.2 yen and rival Sumitomo Mitsui Financial Group lost 1.36 percent to sit at 4,133 yen. Toyota was down 0.56 percent to 6,151 yen and Nissan fell 0.92 percent to finish at 1,021 yen.