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Tokyo stocks end slightly higher after US presidential debate

This photo shows the Tokyo Stock Exchange. (Kyodo)

TOKYO (Kyodo) -- Tokyo stocks ended slightly higher Friday as investors reacted relatively calmly to the final debate between U.S. President Donald Trump and his Democratic challenger Joe Biden before the Nov. 3 election.

    The 225-issue Nikkei Stock Average ended up 42.32 points, or 0.18 percent, from Thursday at 23,516.59. The broader Topix index of all First Section issues on the Tokyo Stock Exchange finished 5.53 points, or 0.34 percent, higher at 1,625.32.

    Gainers were led by rubber product, air transportation and mining issues.

    The U.S. dollar stayed in the upper 104 yen range, supported by hopes for an early deal in the U.S. Congress over fresh stimulus measures to counter the economic impact from the coronavirus pandemic, dealers said.

    At 5 p.m., the dollar fetched 104.68-69 yen compared with 104.86-96 yen in New York and 104.54-55 yen in Tokyo at 5 p.m. Thursday.

    The euro was quoted at $1.1828-1830 and 123.82-86 yen against $1.1814-1824 and 123.96-124.06 yen in New York and $1.1860-1862 and 123.99-124.03 yen in Tokyo late Thursday afternoon.

    The yield on the benchmark 10-year Japanese government bond rose 0.005 percentage point from Thursday's close to 0.035 percent following higher U.S. Treasury yields overnight.

    The Nikkei briefly extended its gain in the afternoon on the stimulus hopes and the calmer presidential debate. The previous chaotic round in September, in which Trump repeatedly interrupted Biden with taunts and prompting Biden to snap back, pushed the benchmark down 1.5 percent.

    "In the morning, investors were concerned about another plunge," said Seiichi Suzuki, chief equity market analyst at the Tokai Tokyo Research Institute. But as the debate was held smoothly, "excessive fears were eased."

    In the latest round, Biden again criticized Trump for his handling of the pandemic, while Trump leveled corruption allegations against the Biden family.

    Yutaka Miura, senior technical analyst at Mizuho Securities Co., said, "Investors want to see how the U.S. market will react (later in the day)."

    On the First Section, advancing issues outnumbered decliners 1,096 to 989, while 95 ended unchanged.

    SBI Holdings gained 33 yen, or 1.3 percent, to 2,614 yen on reports that the financial company will conclude a capital tie-up with Towa Bank. The regional lender soared 43 yen, or 6.2 percent, to 739 yen.

    Mitsubishi Heavy Industries jumped 146.00 yen, or 6.6 percent, to 2,370.00 yen after the company said Friday it is considering various options following reports it will effectively freeze development of Japan's first domestically produced passenger jet.

    A series of delays in the initial delivery of the aircraft, originally planned for 2013, had weighed on the manufacturer's share price.

    Bucking the upward trend, Hitachi Construction Machinery tumbled 615 yen, or 16.8 percent, to 3,050 yen on reports its parent Hitachi is considering selling about half its stake in the subsidiary in a bid to streamline its business. Hitachi rose 100 yen, or 2.8 percent, to 3,650 yen.

    Trading volume on the main section rose to 967.67 million shares from Thursday's 863.17 million shares.

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