Nikkei Jumps Over 1.5% On Positive US Shares

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Tokyo: Tokyo stocks opened higher on Wednesday, tracking gains on Wall Street on fresh optimism over new US President Donald Trump’s economic policies.

Trump on Tuesday met with leading US automakers and took action to advance two major oil pipeline projects that had been blocked by former president Barack Obama.

Meanwhile, House Speaker Paul Ryan signalled support for public works spending, telling reporters he wants an infrastructure package “as expansive as possible.”
The benchmark Nikkei 225 index rose 1.54 percent, or 290.04 points, to 19,078.03 in the first few minutes of trading, while the Topix index of all first-section issues gained 1.36 percent, or 20.50 points, to 1,526.83.

The dollar was trading at 113.90 yen in early Tokyo trade, against 113.81 yen in New York late Tuesday when it firmed from the below-113 yen level a day earlier.

On Wall Street, the Dow Industrial Average rose 0.6 percent to close at 19,912.71.

Gains in US stocks and a relatively cheaper yen are supportive for Japanese shares, but automobile-linked stocks may struggle on worries over Trump’s protectionist comments, Okasan Securities said on its website.

Trump has been pressuring automakers, both US and foreign, into boosting production and hiring in the United States, threatening them with taxes if they move factories and jobs overseas.

Toyota Motor said on Tuesday it will invest $600 million and add 400 jobs to boost SUV production at a factory in Indiana — the home state of Vice President Mike Pence.

Shares in the automaker jumped 2.11 percent to 6,718.0 yen.

Takata shares, meanwhile, surged 18 percent after the embattled airbag maker denied it would enter into a potentially lengthy court-mediated bankrupt restructuring.

Also on Wednesday, the government reported its first annual trade surplus since the 2011 Fukushima nuclear disaster sent the country’s energy import bills soaring.

Trade data showed imports in 2016 fell nearly 16 percent, mainly due to the falling cost of crude oil and liquified natural gas, leaving Japan with a 4.07 trillion yen ($35.8 billion) annual trade surplus last year, the first since 2010.