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Tokyo shares up at break

Fri, Jun. 9, 2017
TOKYO - 9 June 2017: Tokyo stocks rose Friday morning on a weaker yen, while traders took in their stride sacked FBI chief James Comey's testimony that Donald Trump asked him to drop a probe into the administration's Russia links.

Market heavyweight SoftBank surged 7.08 percent to 9,446 yen, after the Japanese telecoms giant said it will buy robot maker Boston Dynamics from Google parent Alphabet. Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed.

Tokyo's rise tracked Wall Street, which edged up after Comey's testimony on his firing by Trump and links to the investigation into Russian meddling in the 2016 US election.
Comey testified that Trump asked him for "loyalty" and to drop a criminal investigation into his former National Security Advisor Mike Flynn.

Although the testimony painted an unflattering picture of the president, analysts said most of the information had already been aired in press reports and the disclosures themselves were not disturbing enough to hurt market sentiment.
"The testimony ended without a fresh storm of controversy," Toshikazu Horiuchi, a broker at Tokyo's IwaiCosmo Securities, told AFP.

"It does not mean an end to the scandal but the case has turned an important corner."
Tokyo's benchmark Nikkei rose 0.91 percent, or 180.64 points, to 20,089.90 by the break, while the broader Topix index of all first-section issues gained 0.31 percent, or 4.88 points, to end the morning at 1,595.29.

Traders were lifted by a rise in the dollar to 110.28 yen from 109.81 yen in New York.
The British pound fell sharply as Prime Minister Theresa May's Conservative Party looked set to lose its majority, leaving a hung parliament and throwing the country into political uncertainty days before the start of sensitive Brexit negotiations.
Sterling plunged to a low of $1.2709 late Thursday in New York, down nearly two percent.

Toshihiko Matsuno, chief strategist at SMBC Friend Securities, said: "This is a negative and will impact the pound and FTSE 100."
Still, he added that Tokyo investors were now shifting their focus to the Federal Reserve's policy meeting next week.

Some companies with significant business in Britain lost ground. Automaker Nissan inched down 0.04 percent to 1,075.5 yen while Hitachi fell 0.76 percent at 674.1 yen.

Sony added 0.53 percent to 4,138 yen and Toyota gained 0.51 percent to 5,836 yen.

Banks were up on hopes for higher interest rates after the European Central Bank offered a first hint at ending its easy money policy.

Mitsubishi UFJ Financial climbed 1.79 percent to 736 yen and rival Mizuho rose 1.36 percent to 200.1 yen.
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