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Tokyo stocks rebound on weaker yen, hopes for inbound tourism

This May 7, 2020 file photo shows the Tokyo Stock Exchange. (Mainichi)

TOKYO (Kyodo) -- Tokyo stocks rebounded Friday on improved sentiment led by the yen's fall against the U.S. dollar and hopes for a recovery in tourism with an increase in foreign visitors to Japan.

    The 225-issue Nikkei Stock Average ended up 148.30 points, or 0.56 percent, from Thursday at 26,553.53. The broader Topix index finished 11.25 points, or 0.59 percent, higher at 1,926.87.

    Gainers were led by air transportation, iron and steel, and mining shares.

    The U.S. dollar briefly climbed to the lower 129 yen range in Tokyo as a rebound in U.S. long-term interest rates prompted dollar buying.

    At 5 p.m., the dollar fetched 128.87-90 yen compared with 128.36-46 yen in New York and 128.17-19 yen in Tokyo at 5 p.m. Thursday.

    The euro was quoted at $1.0840-0841 and 139.71-75 yen against $1.0824-0834 and 139.05-15 yen in New York and $1.0807-0809 and 138.52-56 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 0.400 percent.

    Tokyo stocks opened lower, tracking overnight losses on Wall Street, as fewer-than-expected U.S. weekly jobless claims added to fears that the Federal Reserve may maintain its aggressive monetary tightening for an extended period. But the key indexes soon moved into positive territory, helped by the yen's weakness.

    "Investors saw that the fall in U.S. long-term interest rates had paused and bought back the dollar after it plunged to the 127 yen level" earlier this week, said Norihiro Fujito, chief investment strategist at Mitsubishi UFJ Morgan Stanley Securities Co. "Higher exporter shares due to the yen's weakness propped up stock prices."

    Stocks extended gains in the afternoon on hopes for a normalization of the domestic economy and an increase in foreign visitors to Japan after Prime Minister Fumio Kishida pledged to downgrade the legal status of COVID-19 to the same level as seasonal influenza.

    Inbound tourism-related shares, such as department stores and airlines, were particularly higher as investors also counted on an increase in Chinese travelers to Japan ahead of China's Lunar New Year holidays starting Saturday.

    Among tourism-related issues, J. Front Retailing, which operates the Daimaru and Matsuzakaya department stores, rose 38 yen, or 3.3 percent, to 1,191 yen, while Japan Airlines advanced 111 yen, or 4.2 percent, to 2,723 yen.

    Exporters that rose on a weaker yen included Mitsubishi Motors, which gained 16 yen, or 3.4 percent, to 484 yen, while Sharp climbed 26 yen, or 2.6 percent, to 1,029 yen.

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