Tokyo investors eyeing US data, Greece talks next week

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TOKYO: A slate of US economic data and Greece’s bailout talks will be on Tokyo investors’ radar next week as the clock ticks down to a deadline for Athens to pay some of its debts.

US housing starts and durable goods orders will be on deck from Monday with markets keen to see more evidence of a stable recovery in the world’s biggest economy.

After a two-day meeting the Federal Reserve this week held off hiking interest rates and said any increases would be cautious.

Afterwards, Fed boss Janet Yellen said its first interest rate hike in nine years would likely come “later this year.”

EU President Donald Tusk called an emergency summit of the leaders of the 19 eurozone countries for Monday in Brussels after finance ministers on Thursday failed to break the five-month-old deadlock between the anti-austerity government in Athens and its creditors.

“With the end-of-June IMF deadline fast approaching, (German Chancellor) Angela Merkel repeated this week that a deal was still possible, but if there’s no progress next week we are likely to see an immediate negative market reaction,” Barclays said in a research note.

On Friday, the Nikkei 225 at the Tokyo added 0.92 percent, or 183.42 points, to close at 20,174.24, snapping a four-day losing streak. Over the week, the benchmark index lost 1.14 percent.

The Topix index of all first-section shares rose 0.89 percent, or 14.35 points, to 1,631.01. But it was down 1.24 percent over the week.

Tokyo picked up a strong lead from New York where the tech-focused Nasdaq powered to a fresh record.

Later Friday, the BoJ kept a lid on its record 80 trillion yen annual asset-buying scheme after it wrapped up a policy meeting.

The program is aimed at jacking up prices and kickstarting growth in the world’s number three economy.

Despite the BoJ’s decision, economists expect a further loosening of monetary policy, likely later this year, to bring Japan closer to its two-percent inflation target, which is a cornerstone of Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s drive to conquer deflation.

The country’s near-zero inflation rate is far below the BoJ’s target.

Boosting Japanese exporters, the dollar ticked up to 123.14 yen from 122.93 yen in New York.

Shares in factory robotics maker Fanuc jumped 3.23 percent to 26,200 yen, lender Mitsubishi UFJ rose 0.64 percent to 860 yen and Fast Retailing, operator of the Uniqlo clothing chain, slipped 0.06 percent to 52,170 yen.

AFP

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