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Tokyo stocks edge up on weak yen, US monetary tightening fears

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

TOKYO (Kyodo) -- Tokyo stocks were slightly higher Tuesday morning as buying of exporter issues on a weaker yen helped offset concerns about a negative fallout from prolonged U.S. monetary tightening.

    The 225-issue Nikkei Stock Average rose 81.71 points, or 0.29 percent, from Monday to 27,902.11. The broader Topix index was up 2.82 points, or 0.14 percent, at 1,950.72.

    On the top-tier Prime Market, gainers were led by insurance, iron and steel, and marine transportation issues. Mining, service, and precision instrument shares were among the major decliners.

    The U.S. dollar was supported in the upper 136 yen zone almost throughout the morning after surging from around the 135 yen line overnight in New York as stronger-than-expected service sector data for November added to prospects for the Federal Reserve to continue with its aggressive interest rate hikes, dealers said.

    At noon, the dollar fetched 136.97-98 yen compared with 136.74-84 yen in New York and 135.12-14 yen in Tokyo at 5 p.m. Monday.

    The euro was quoted at $1.0496-0500 and 143.76-83 yen against $1.0488-0498 and 143.45-55 yen in New York and $1.0538-0540 and 142.39-43 yen in Tokyo late Monday afternoon.

    Stocks opened lower, tracking an overnight drop on Wall Street as investors fretted over borrowing costs staying high along with the Fed's rate hikes.

    But shares later swung back to the positive territory as the yen's fall prompted buying of auto and machinery issues among major exporters, analysts said.

    Mazda Motor rose 31 yen, or 3.0 percent, to 1,052 yen. Heavy machinery maker IHI gained 75 yen, or 2.1 percent, to 3,715 yen.

    Some soccer-related shares suffered losses after Japan lost to Croatia in the knockout stage at Qatar's World Cup earlier in the day, dashing hopes of the Samurai Blue's first foray into the final eight.

    CyberAgent, which broadcasts all the matches via its online platform, fell 45 yen, or 3.5 percent, to 1,236 yen. Hub, the operator of English-style pubs that have aired the matches on its in-store screens, slid 58 yen, or 8.2 percent, to 650 yen.

    Among Prime Market issues, declining issues outnumbered advancers 1,017 to 726, while 93 ended the morning unchanged.

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