Tokyo stocks up at break as yen tumbles



Tokyo stocks rose on Monday morning, led by exporters as the dollar jumped against the yen ahead of an expected US interest rate hike this week.

Investors are widely anticipating that the US Federal Reserve will raise its benchmark interest rate for only the second time in a decade.

With Japanese borrowing costs still low, including some in negative territory, the yen stands to lose further ground against the dollar as rates rise in the US, making its assets more attractive for investors.

The greenback was at 115.26 yen early Monday — around levels not seen since February — compared with 115.29 yen in New York, and well up from the 114.41 yen in Asia earlier Friday.

“The yen weakness, and dollar strength, on the back of rising US interest rates will lift expectations to another level for better earnings from exporters, starting with the automakers,” said Shinichi Yamamoto, a senior strategist at Okasan Securities Co.

“A wide range of industry groups will be bought including financial stocks that could hope for recovery in profits, as market interest rates rise,” he told Bloomberg News.

Tokyo’s benchmark Nikkei 225 index added 0.77 percent, or 146.45 points, to 19,142.82 by the break.

The broader Topix index of all first-section issues was up 0.20 percent, or 3.07 points, at 1,528.43.

Nissan climbed 1.70 percent to 1,134 yen and Honda was up 0.37 percent at 3,486 yen, while market heavyweight Fast Retailing gained 1.17 percent to 43,090.0 yen by the break.

Energy stocks also rose on a weekend deal by Russia and 10 other non-OPEC states to cut oil output.

The deal followed the November 30 accord of the OPEC cartel, as they attempt to end a global glut that has hammered prices for two years.

Japan Petroleum jumped 4.91 percent to 2,926 yen and Inpex rose 0.48 percent to 1,254 yen.

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