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Tokyo stocks end higher after Fed chief's comments boost Wall Street

This file photo shows the Tokyo Stock Exchange. (Mainichi)

TOKYO (Kyodo) -- Tokyo stocks rebounded Thursday, with the benchmark Nikkei index retaking the 30,000 line, as investors were encouraged by rises on Wall Street after the chief of the U.S. central bank said overnight it will continue to support the economy.

    The 225-issue Nikkei Stock Average ended up 496.57 points, or 1.67 percent, from Wednesday at 30,168.27. The broader Topix index of all First Section issues on the Tokyo Stock Exchange finished 23.16 points, or 1.22 percent, higher at 1,926.23.

    Gainers were led by rubber product, metal product and consumer credit issues.

    The U.S. dollar edged up to around the 106 yen line after U.S. long-term interest rates hit a one-year high overnight amid expectations of a recovery in the world's largest economy with massive stimulus under President Joe Biden as well as of continued monetary easing by the Federal Reserve, dealers said.

    At 5 p.m., the dollar fetched 106.00-02 yen compared with 105.79-89 yen in New York and 105.56-58 yen in Tokyo at 5 p.m. Wednesday.

    The euro was quoted at $1.2186-2188 and 129.17-21 yen against $1.2165-2175 and 128.81-91 yen in New York and $1.2155-2156 and 128.31-35 yen in Tokyo late Wednesday afternoon.

    The yield on the benchmark 10-year Japanese government bond rose 0.025 percentage point from Wednesday's close to 0.140 percent, its highest closing since October 2018, as investors sold the safe-haven debt on rising U.S. Treasury yields and the rebound in Tokyo stocks.

    Shares gained ground throughout the day, following the Dow Jones index's record-high finish in New York overnight as Fed Chairman Jerome Powell said in congressional testimony "the economy is a long way from our employment and inflation goal." His remark signals the central bank will keep accommodative policy in place for a long time.

    "With expectations for an end to the coronavirus pandemic, investors especially bought shares that had been undervalued, such as rubber product issues," said Kazuo Kamitani, a strategist in the Investment Content Department of Nomura Securities Co.

    Before chasing the upside further, the Nikkei is expected to move around the 30,000 line until mid-March, while investors are switching sectors to buy on dips, he said, referring to the bargain hunting of pandemic-battered air transportation issues in the past several sessions before rubber product shares drew buying.

    On the First Section, advancing issues outnumbered decliners 1,383 to 707, while 102 ended unchanged.

    Major tire maker Bridgestone climbed 138 yen, or 3.3 percent, to 4,314 yen, Sumitomo Rubber gained 23 yen, or 1.9 percent, to 1,210 yen and Yokohama Rubber added 39 yen, or 2.1 percent, to 1,910 yen.

    Bucking the upward trend, Suzuki Motor dropped 164 yen, or 3.3 percent, to 4,805 yen after its Chairman Osamu Suzuki, 91, said Wednesday he will retire in June after leading the automaker for more than 40 years.

    Trading volume on the main section fell to 1,460.95 million shares from Wednesday's 1,570.41 million shares.

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