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Tokyo stocks end moderately higher on continued earnings hopes

A man walks by an electronic stock board of a securities firm in Tokyo on Jan. 27, 2021. (AP Photo/Koji Sasahara)

TOKYO (Kyodo) -- Tokyo stocks ended moderately higher Wednesday as investors continued to expect positive earnings projections from major domestic companies.

    The 225-issue Nikkei Stock Average ended up 89.03 points, or 0.31 percent, from Tuesday at 28,635.21. The broader Topix index of all First Section issues on the Tokyo Stock Exchange finished 12.07 points, or 0.65 percent, higher at 1,860.07.

    Gainers were led by real estate, electric appliance and food issues.

    The U.S. dollar moved narrowly in the upper 103 yen range throughout the day as market participants awaited the outcome of the U.S. Federal Reserve's first policy meeting of 2021 later in the day.

    Although there was some speculation that the Fed will dial back its quantitative easing program as the economy is recovering from the novel coronavirus pandemic, the U.S. central bank will likely underscore its commitment to low-interest rate policies, dealers said.

    At 5 p.m., the dollar fetched 103.67-69 yen compared with 103.57-67 yen in New York and 103.80-82 yen in Tokyo at 5 p.m. Tuesday.

    The euro was quoted at $1.2154-2156 and 126.00-04 yen against $1.2155-2165 and 125.98-126.08 yen in New York, and $1.2112-2113 and 125.73-77 yen in Tokyo late Tuesday afternoon.

    The yield on the benchmark 10-year Japanese government bond rose 0.005 percentage point from Tuesday's close to 0.035 percent as investors sold the safe-haven debt following a rebound in Tokyo shares.

    With more domestic companies reporting their October-December results this week, shares were solid in early trading on earnings optimism and an International Monetary Fund upgrade of growth estimates for Japan and the global economy this year.

    But they gradually turned top-heavy, with the Nikkei falling into negative territory at one point before rebounding in the afternoon.

    "There were expectations that earnings will improve in the next fiscal year (from April) and beyond, while some investors also moved to secure gains before (technology heavyweight) Apple Inc.'s first quarter results" due later in the day, said Norihiro Fujito, chief investment strategist at Mitsubishi UFJ Morgan Stanley Securities Co.

    On the First Section, advancing issues outnumbered decliners 1,291 to 814, while 85 ended unchanged.

    Electric parts manufacturer Nitto Denko soared 740 yen, or 7.9 percent, to 10,100 yen after the company, in its earnings report released the previous day, upgraded its operating and net profit outlooks for the business year through March.

    Among other electric parts makers, Murata Manufacturing rose 175 yen, or 1.6 percent, to 10,825 yen and Nidec advanced 400 yen, or 2.8 percent, to 14,800 yen.

    Real estate company Hulic gained 16 yen, or 1.4 percent, to 1,146 yen after a news report that the company's operating profit is expected to rise 15 percent from the previous year to 100 billion yen, hitting a record high for a ninth year in a row.

    Trading volume on the main section rose to 1,159.58 million shares from Tuesday's 1,070.61 million shares.

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