Tokyo stocks open higher on virus stimulus measures

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Wed, 18 Mar 2020 - 05:37 GMT

Tokyo stocks opened higher on Wednesday, extending rallies on Wall Street as the US and European governments signalled more stimulus measures to address the economic hit from the coronavirus. PHOTO: AFP

Tokyo stocks opened higher on Wednesday, extending rallies on Wall Street as the US and European governments signalled more stimulus measures to address the economic hit from the coronavirus. PHOTO: AFP

TOKYO - 18 March 2020: Tokyo stocks opened higher on Wednesday, extending rallies on Wall Street as the US and European governments signaled more stimulus measures to address the economic hit from the coronavirus.

The benchmark Nikkei 225 index was up 1.18 percent, or 201.06 points, at 17,212.59 in early trade, while the broader Topix index edged up 1.29 percent, or 16.37 points, to 1,284.83.

"Japanese shares are seen led by purchases on the backdrop of rallies in European and US bourses with... a cheap yen," Mizuho Securities said in a note.

"Gains will likely continue on expectations for an autonomous rebound after sharp drops in recent sessions and expectations for large-scale US economic stimulus."

"On the other hand, worries over the further spread of the new coronavirus in Europe will continue to weigh on the market," it added.

The dollar fetched 107.48 yen in early Asian trade, against 107.64 yen in New York late Tuesday.

In Tokyo, major exporters were higher, with Toyota surging 4.65 percent to 6,661 yen, Sony soaring 6.01 percent to 6,184 yen, and Olympus rallying 6.40 percent to 1,511 yen.

Panasonic was up 0.88 percent at 732.2 yen while construction machine maker Komatsu was up 2.71 percent at 1,627.5 yen.

SoftBank Group was down 8.81 percent at 3,329 yen after a report said the Japanese company may not buy $3 billion of shares in WeWork from existing investors as part of its planned bailout of the US-based co-working facilities provider.

Trade of shares in Fujifilm Holdings was suspended on overwhelming buy-orders, as speculation mounted about the mass production of its influenza drug Avigan, which Chinese science authorities have reportedly said is effective in treating the new coronavirus.

The Chinese government plans to officially recommend the drug's use for treatment, Japan's Jiji Press and other media reported.

Japan posted a trade surplus of 1.1 trillion yen ($10 billion) last month but imports from China nearly halved from a year earlier, according to data released by the finance ministry 10 minutes before the opening bell.

The drop in imports is seen as part of the impact of the coronavirus on economic activities, analysts said.

On Wall Street, the Dow ended up 5.2 percent at 21,237.38.

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