Tokyo stocks close up 0.39 per cent

Tokyo stocks close up 0.39 per cent

TOKYO - Tokyo stocks rose 0.39 per cent Thursday on late bargain-hunting, offsetting earlier losses from a strengthening yen. The Nikkei index at the Tokyo Stock Exchange closed up 55.98 points at 14,472.58, but the Topix index of all first section shares was flat, dipping 0.43 points to 1,194.77.

The Nikkei lost ground in early trade as the dollar fell below 99 yen (S$1.2573) after Federal Reserve chairman Ben Bernanke tamped down speculation the Fed was close to pulling the plug on its extraordinary support of the US economy.

The greenback fell to 98.55 yen in Thursday Asian trade, from 99.59 yen late in New York and well off the levels near 101 yen in Tokyo Wednesday.

But the benchmark Nikkei index ended in positive territory "as foreign investors bought on dips in late trading", said Kenzaburo Suwa, strategist with Okasan Securities."Any moderate dip can be a chance to buy back," Suwa said.

"The Japanese stock market is still on course to recovery," he said, adding that the buying momentum was expected to continue for now.

The market largely ignored the Bank of Japan's decision to leave its vast monetary easing programme unchanged, while also boosting its assessment of the economy, using the word "recover" for the first time since 2011.

"Japan's economy is starting to recover modestly," the bank said in a statement after a two-day policy meeting Thursday.

The comment was seen as a notch stronger than its previous assessment that the "economy has been picking up".

US stocks ended mixed with the Dow Jones Industrial Average edging down 0.06 per cent.

In Tokyo trade, SoftBank lost 0.69 per cent to 5,720 yen after it closed a $21.6 billion (S$27.7 billion) deal to gain a controlling stake in US mobile carrier Sprint.

Exporters ended mixed with Toyota off 0.15 per cent to 6,380 yen and Sony up 0.04 per cent at 2,188 yen.

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