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Tokyo stocks rise in morning as U.S. stimulus tapering concerns ease

This Oct. 1, 2020 file photo shows the Tokyo Stock Exchange. (Mainichi)

TOKYO (Kyodo) -- Tokyo stocks rose Monday morning as wariness that U.S. monetary stimulus would begin to be unwound receded due to weaker-than-expected nonfarm U.S. payrolls data.

    The 225-issue Nikkei Stock Average gained 245.87 points, or 0.84 percent, from Friday to 29,603.69. The broader Topix index of all First Section issues on the Tokyo Stock Exchange was up 20.06 points, or 1.04 percent, at 1,953.11.

    Gainers were led by iron and steel, oil and coal product and mining issues.

    The U.S. dollar briefly dropped to the lower 108 yen level after the payrolls data but the currency was bought back and edged up in the upper 108 yen zone in Tokyo as Japanese importers sought the dollar for settlement purposes, dealers said.

    At noon, the dollar fetched 108.87-88 yen compared with 108.53-63 yen in New York and 109.14-16 yen in Tokyo at 5 p.m. Friday.

    The euro was quoted at $1.2152-2152 and 132.30-34 yen against $1.2157-2167 and 132.02-12 yen in New York and $1.2076-2078 and 131.80-84 yen in Tokyo late Friday afternoon.

    Shares were higher from the outset after unexpectedly weak U.S. jobs data raised hopes that the Federal Reserve will keep its interest rates near zero and continue its massive bond purchasing for some time to support the economy, brokers said.

    Market players had worried that robust U.S. payrolls data may force the Fed to start stimulus tapering. But the Labor Department said late last week the economy generated 266,000 nonfarm jobs in April, well below the market consensus of an increase of 978,000.

    "Investors who had hedged before the jobs data release bought back shares," said Yutaka Miura, senior technical analyst at Mizuho Securities Co.

    But once the buyback ran its course, the benchmark Nikkei remained top-heavy as concerns over the continued increase of coronavirus infections in Japan made investors hesitant to chase the upside, Miura said.

    On the First Section, advancing issues outnumbered decliners 1,507 to 599, while 83 ended the morning unchanged.

    Some steelmakers were higher after forecasting on Friday a return to the black in the year through March 2022 on a recovery in demand.

    Nippon Steel climbed 97.00 yen, or 4.5 percent, to 2,264.00 yen and JFE Holdings advanced 106 yen, or 6.6 percent, to 1,715 yen.

    Their peers Kobe Steel rose 30 yen, or 3.4 percent, to 905 yen and Nakayama Steel Works jumped 40 yen, or 9.0 percent, to 483 yen.

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