• Tokyo shares rally, Takata soars on US deal report

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    TOKYO: Tokyo shares rallied Friday as retailers and drugmakers jumped, while embattled Takata soared on news it may announce a settlement with US regulators over its exploding airbag crisis.

    But gains were capped after Wall Street ended in the red as a post-election equities rally—driven by hopes for big stimulus spending under Donald Trump—appears to be running out of steam.

    Investors were disappointed that the US president-elect did not give details about his plans for the economy when he held his first official media briefing this week.

    The benchmark Nikkei index rose 0.80 percent, or 152.58 points, to close at 19,287.28. Over the week it lost 0.86 percent.

    The broader Topix index of all first-section issues gained 0.62 percent, or 9.48 points, to 1,544.89. It was down 0.54 percent over the week.

    Both major Tokyo indexes fell around one percent Thursday but the sell-off was overdone, prompting buying on Friday, Okasan Securities said.

    “Although the three major US indices fell, a rebound from yesterday’s plunge and rise of the oil prices led investors to place more buy orders, boosting the Nikkei index,” it said in a commentary.

    Tokyo investors were also encouraged by the rebound of the dollar, which bought 115.18 yen against 114.75 yen in New York.

    A weaker yen is a plus for Japanese shares.

    Next week, a barrage of US data, including inflation and jobless claims, will be in focus as Trump assumes the presidency, while markets will also be looking to the release of Chinese 2016 economic growth data.

    In Tokyo trading, Takata’s volatile shares shot up more than 16 percent to 1,061 yen on reports that the company and US authorities may announce later in the day a deal over a global airbag recall linked to more than a dozen deaths and scores of injuries worldwide.

    Seven & i Holdings, which operates the 7-Eleven convenience store chain, soared 8.58 percent to 4,832 yen, while Uniqlo operator Fast Retailing rose 1.10 percent to 38,430 yen, after they released upbeat profit figures.

    Drugmaker Takeda rose 0.72 percent to 4,875 yen after falling Thursday in response to Trump’s warnings that he would rein in the pharma sector to bring down prices.

    Nintendo dropped 5.75 percent to 23,750 yen as it formally unveiled its new Switch game console, which can be played at home and on the go, with a price tag of 29,980 yen in Japan and $299.99 in North America. AFP

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