Tokyo stocks rise after Q1 growth upgrade

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TOKYO: Tokyo stocks rose in early trading Wednesday after Japan said its economy expanded at a slightly faster pace in the first quarter than originally estimated.

The world’s number three economy grew 0.5 percent in the January-March period, the government said shortly before markets opened, with the result matching analyst expectations.

The new reading — up from a previous one of 0.4 percent growth announced last month — was a positive for Japan’s economy after a sharp contraction in the final quarter of last year.

The figures were released after Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe said last week that he would delay a sales tax hike that has threatened to derail the fragile recovery.


“The better reading of business investment is positive for the economy,” Koya Miyamae, an economist at SMBC Nikko Securities, told Bloomberg News before the report was released.

“But the outlook is still uncertain because the yen’s gains and a dull recovery in overseas demand may make businesses cautious about spending.”

Tokyo’s benchmark Nikkei 225 index gained 0.33 percent, or 54.44 points, to 16,729.89, in early trading, fluctuating between positive and negative territory.

The broader Topix index of all first-section shares edged up 0.25 percent, or 3.41 points, to 1,344.18.

Japanese investors are now focused on a Bank of Japan policy meeting next week for fresh clues on central bank monetary policy.

US financial markets mostly rose on Tuesday, with oil-linked shares leading the way as the US oil benchmark closed above $50 a barrel for the first time since July.

On Wall Street, the Dow and S&P 500 ended 0.1 percent higher, while the tech-rich Nasdaq ticked down 0.1 percent.

On currency markets, the dollar fell to 107.09 yen from 107.39 yen Tuesday in US trade. AFP

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