Tokyo shares rise by break after oil price surge

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TOKYO: Tokyo shares gained Thursday morning, as energy stocks spiked after Brent crude soared above $50 a barrel for the first time this year, while markets focused on a G7 leaders’ summit in Japan.

Heads of state and government from the Group of Seven nations kicked off two days of talks in Japan on Thursday with the sputtering global economy likely on top of the agenda.

By the lunch break, Tokyo’s Nikkei 225 index climbed 0.29 percent, or 48.28 points, to 16,805.63, while the broader Topix index of all first-section shares rose 0.28 percent, or 3.79 points, to 1,346.67.

Sentiment was boosted by a solid lead on Wednesday from stock markets in Europe and the United States, as investors took a positive view of a possible Federal Reserve interest rate hike.


“Markets are now more accepting of a US rate increase,” Mitsushige Akino, an executive officer at Ichiyoshi Asset Management, told Bloomberg News. “The thought is that an increase won’t stop the US economy from growing, but if the global economy slows, they have the means to change their policy.”

Oil-linked shares picked up sharply as the price for a barrel of Brent crude surged to its highest level of the year, surpassing $50 for the first time in 2016 on a fall in US oil inventories.

Energy explorer Inpex soared 3.01 percent to 856.7 yen and refiner JX Holdings tacked on 1.60 percent to 431 yen.

Takata surged more than four percent after it said on Wednesday it hired investment bank Lazard to look for financial sponsors willing to invest in the crisis-hit airbag maker.

An expert panel formed in February is negotiating with automakers on cost claims, Takata said in a statement released during US trade, according to Bloomberg News. Takata shares soared 4.49 percent to 395 yen.

In other trading, Toyota rose 0.82 percent to 5,601 yen and Uniqlo operator Fast Retailing, a market heavyweight, advanced 1.68 percent to 29,225 yen.

When the G7 talks get under way later Thursday, part of the focus is expected to be on whether the world should spend or save its way out of its current malaise, with Japan and Germany at odds over the issue.

On currency markets, the dollar fell to 109.67 yen from 110.21 yen Wednesday in New York. AFP

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