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Tokyo stocks rise on firm overseas shares, Fed chief speech awaited

TOKYO (Kyodo) -- Tokyo stocks ended slightly higher Monday on firm markets elsewhere in Asia and U.S. shares as investors cautiously awaited a speech by U.S. Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell later this week.

    The 225-issue Nikkei Stock Average ended up 65.21 points, or 0.28 percent, from Friday at 22,985.51. The broader Topix index of all First Section issues on the Tokyo Stock Exchange finished 3.07 points, or 0.19 percent, higher at 1,607.13.

    Gainers were led by machinery, retail and metal product issues.

    The U.S. dollar remained steady in the upper 105 yen zone after U.S. data on August business activity in both the manufacturing and service sectors released Friday showed a stronger-than-expected outcome, dealers said.

    At 5 p.m., the dollar fetched 105.85-87 yen compared with 105.76-86 yen in New York and 105.51-52 yen in Tokyo at 5 p.m. Friday.

    The euro was quoted at $1.1814-1815 and 125.05-09 yen against $1.1790-1800 and 124.76-86 yen in New York and $1.1840-1842 and 124.93-97 yen in Tokyo late Friday afternoon.

    The yield on the benchmark 10-year Japanese government bond fell 0.010 percentage point from Friday's close to 0.020 percent as investors bought the debt on the strength of the U.S. Treasury market late last week.

    Tokyo shares opened lower but quickly overcame early losses on firm shares in other Asian markets such as South Korea, Taiwan and Hong Kong.

    But gains on the Tokyo market remained moderate in thin trading, leaving the Nikkei to finish at around Friday's closing level. Trading volume on the main section fell to 776.14 million shares, the lowest level since January 2005, from Friday's 910.28 million shares.

    "Investors awaited Powell's speech at the Jackson Hole meeting for any hints about the Fed's move at the next (policy) meeting," said Toshikazu Horiuchi, equity strategist at IwaiCosmo Securities Co.

    Investor expectations about additional monetary easing by the Federal Reserve have receded after the minutes of the U.S. central bank's July policy meeting showed last week Fed officials are not positive about utilizing such measures as yield-curve control.

    "Tokyo shares didn't have (strong upward) momentum, as more new coronavirus infections have been reported and the pace of the Japanese economic recovery has slowed," said Maki Sawada, vice president of the investment research and investor services department at Nomura Securities Co.

    On the First Section, declining issues outnumbered advancers 1,070 to 999, while 103 ended unchanged.

    Game makers gained, as the ongoing coronavirus pandemic and recent extreme heat in Japan keeps people indoors, likely spurring demand.

    Nintendo jumped 2,620 yen, or 4.8 percent, to 57,320 yen, Bandai Namco Holdings advanced 97 yen, or 1.5 percent, to 6,612 yen, and Square Enix Holdings climbed 210 yen, or 3.0 percent, to 7,150 yen.

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