Japanese shares open slightly higher

Japanese shares open slightly higher

TOKYO - Tokyo stocks opened 0.18 per cent higher Wednesday on receding worries over Cyprus and after US shares surged.

The Nikkei index at the Tokyo Stock Exchange rose 22.80 points to 12,494.42 in the first minutes after the opening bell.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average jumped 111.90 (0.77 per cent) to 14,559.65, breaking the previous mark of March 14, as favourable sentiment towards equities more than compensated for a mixed bag of economic indicators.

The S&P, which measures a broad base of equities in all major economic sectors, shot up 12.08 (0.78 per cent) to 1,563.77, just short of its all-time closing high of 1,565.15.

The tech-heavy Nasdaq Composite Index rose 17.18 (0.53 per cent) to 3,252.48.

Cyprus President Nicos Anastasiades secured a 10-billion-euro (US$13-billion) bailout in Brussels early Monday, just hours before Cyprus faced bankruptcy and a possible exit from the euro.

But central bank governor Panicos Demetriades warned that "superhuman" efforts are needed to reopen its banks by Thursday.

The Nikkei was seen as being buoyant as concerns over Cyprus ease and following the solid performance on Wall Street, said Hideyuki Ishiguro, senior strategist at Okasan Securities.

The focus is now on what easing steps the Bank of Japan will take, he told Dow Jones Newswires.

New BoJ governor Haruhiko Kuroda, who officially took office last week, has repeatedly pledged "all-out efforts" to rid Japan of growth-sapping deflation and to offer aggressive monetary easing.

"Markets won't be disappointed as long as he can keep expectations for easing intact," Ishiguro said.

On the forex market the dollar bought 94.59 yen, little changed from 94.55 yen in New York Tuesday.

The euro was at US$1.2864 and 121.69 yen, compared with $1.2856 and 121.56 yen in New York.

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