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Tokyo stocks break 3-day losing streak on tourism recovery hope

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

TOKYO (Kyodo) -- Tokyo stocks rose Friday and the Nikkei index snapped a three-day losing streak with tourism-linked shares ending mostly higher after Prime Minister Fumio Kishida said the previous day Japan will resume accepting foreign travelers from June 10 following a roughly two-year suspension.

    The 225-issue Nikkei Stock Average ended up 176.84 points, or 0.66 percent, from Thursday at 26,781.68. The broader Topix index finished 9.72 points, or 0.52 percent, higher at 1,887.30.

    On the top-tier Prime Market, major gainers included marine transportation, mining and air transportation issues.

    The U.S. dollar briefly slipped into the upper 126 yen range in the afternoon as Japanese exporters sold the currency for settlement purposes, before bouncing back to the lower 127 yen zone, dealers said.

    At 5 p.m., the dollar fetched 127.13-14 yen compared with 127.02-12 yen in New York and 126.59-61 yen in Tokyo at 5 p.m. Thursday.

    The euro was quoted at $1.0735-0737 and 136.48-52 yen against $1.0727-0737 and 136.28-38 yen in New York and $1.0688-0690 and 135.30-34 yen in Tokyo late Thursday afternoon.

    The yield on the benchmark 10-year Japanese government bond fell 0.005 percentage point from Thursday's close to 0.225 percent, as investors bought the debt after its price declined the previous day. Bond yields move inversely to prices.

    The Nikkei was in positive territory throughout the day as investor sentiment improved after Wall Street shares gained overnight.

    Shares related to inbound tourism, including airlines and department stores, were higher after Kishida said Thursday that Japan will accept foreign tourists in stages starting June 10, brokers said.

    ANA Holdings rose 56.5 yen, or 2.2 percent, to 2,606.0 yen and Japan Airlines climbed 49 yen, or 2.1 percent, to 2,374 yen. J. Front Retailing, which operates the Daimaru and Matsuzakaya department stores, climbed 48 yen, or 4.7 percent, to 1,070 yen.

    "While Japan will not see a complete recovery of inbound tourism at first because entry will be limited to people on package tours, investors welcomed the announcement," said Norihiro Fujito, senior investment strategist at Mitsubishi UFJ Morgan Stanley Securities Co.

    The market was additionally supported by growing hopes for the return to full-scale economic activities in Japan as more people have been going out in line with a recent downward trend in COVID-19 infections in the country, brokers said.

    But stocks were top-heavy throughout the day, with the Nikkei index trimming gains once it neared the psychological threshold of 27,000 in the morning.

    "It is difficult for investors to chase the upside unless there is a fresh positive trading cue," Fujito said, adding the market was weighed down by lingering worries over high inflation in the United States and some other countries as well as the prospects for monetary tightening by their central banks.

    Among Prime Market issues, advancing issues outnumbered decliners 1,228 to 548, with 61 ending unchanged.

    Semiconductor-related shares gained after the technology-heavy U.S. Nasdaq index jumped over 2.6 percent overnight. Chip silicon wafer manufacturer Sumco advanced 51 yen, or 2.6 percent, to 2,036 yen.

    Nippon Yusen jumped 680 yen, or 6.4 percent, to 11,310 yen after the marine transportation service firm said Thursday it plans a stock split.

    Trading volume on the Prime Market rose to 1,168.39 million shares from Thursday's 1,085.81 million.

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