Tokyo stocks rebound after Brexit-sparked global rout

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TOKYO: Tokyo stocks rebounded Wednesday morning after a global equities rout sparked by fears over Britain leaving the EU, as investors hunted for bargains ahead of policy announcements from the US and Japanese central banks.

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The uptick comes after four straight losing sessions for the Nikkei 225 index and after US and European markets fell on Tuesday.

With just over a week to go until Britain’s referendum, a series of polls have put the “Leave” camp in front, and sent global equity markets into free fall.

Tokyo warned on Wednesday that a so-called Brexit would impact the country, with more than 1,000 Japanese companies doing business in Britain.

“The Japanese government hopes Britain will stay in the EU,” Deputy Chief Cabinet Secretary Hiroshige Seko told reporters, echoing earlier comments including those from Prime Minister Shinzo Abe.

But the gloomy mood over a possible Brexit was partially offset by bargain hunting as some investors bet that the Bank of Japan (BoJ) will announce another round of stimulus after its policy meeting wraps up Thursday.

Markets are also watching for the end of the US Federal Reserve’s two-day policy meeting later Wednesday.

“We’re seeing some buying on expectations the BoJ will make a move,” Masakuni Fujiwara, chief executive officer at VistaMax Fund Advisors in Tokyo, told Bloomberg News.

“It’s clashing with worries over the UK possibly leaving the EU, with the market going back and forth between the positive and negative factors.”

The benchmark Nikkei 225 index, which opened lower, gained 0.72 percent, or 114.26 points, to 15,973.26 by the lunch break.

The broader Topix index of all first-section shares was up 0.85 percent, or 10.76 points, at 1,282.69.

In share trading, Toyota climbed 1.65 percent to 5,482 yen and Nissan jumped 1.99 percent to 1,024 yen.

Sony rose 1.43 percent to 2,983 yen, while Uniqlo operator Fast Retailing, a market heavyweight, slipped 0.19 percent to 28,275 yen.

In currency trading, the dollar was marginally stronger at 106.21 yen from 106.11 yen Tuesday in New York.

The yield on Japan’s 10-year government bond hit a record low of minus 0.185 percent Wednesday, in a sign that investors are increasingly willing to accept negative returns in exchange for holding rock-solid government debt.

The yield on 20- and 30-year Japanese sovereign bonds also hit record lows, after Germany’s 10-year debt yield fell below zero on Tuesday for the first time. AFP

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