Tokyo shares rise as investors assess Yellen comments
TOKYO—Tokyo shares rose cautiously in mid-afternoon trade on Tuesday as the market determined the impact of comments by Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen, who said that any US interest rate hike would be gradual. Fed boss Yellen expressed confidence in the world’s top economy on Monday, but also signalled caution about raising rates following last week’s dismal US jobs report—calling it “concerning”. On Tuesday, the benchmark Nikkei 225 index climbed in thin trade as the market considered how the Japanese currency would be affected by a more gradual increase in Fed rates.
“Currency moves and expectations for more policy actions are still the biggest drivers for the Japanese stock market,” Toshihiro Hirao, president of Asuka Asset Management, told Bloomberg News. “(Many companies are) forecasting earnings based on the yen being between 105 to 110 per dollar, so if the yen starts to strengthen and we go below 105, we’ll have to revise those forecasts again.” On Monday, the dollar remained inline with previous expectations, rising to 107.80 yen from 107.57 yen in New York, after initially trading lower against the Japanese unit.
The Nikkei 225 index saw a small 0.66 percent rise, or 109.41 points, to 16,689.44, while the broader Topix index of all first-section shares gained 0.65 percent, or 8.63 points, to 1,341.06.—AFP