Tokyo stocks end moderately higher ahead of Fed meeting


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

TOKYO (Kyodo) — Tokyo stocks ended higher Tuesday, but gains were limited before the U.S. Federal Reserve starts a two-day policy meeting later in the day, with investors waiting to see if the central bank’s decision will further weaken the yen.

The 225-issue Nikkei Stock Average ended up 120.77 points, or 0.44 percent, from Friday at 27,688.42. The broader Topix index finished 8.71 points, or 0.45 percent, higher at 1,947.27. Japanese financial markets were closed Monday for a national holiday.

On the top-tier Prime Market, gainers were led by rubber product, iron and steel, and transportation equipment issues.

The U.S. dollar rose to the mid-143 yen zone, finding support on expectations that the Fed will continue with aggressive interest rate hikes, dealers said.

At 5 p.m., the dollar fetched 143.46-48 yen compared with 143.15-25 yen in New York at 5 p.m. Monday.

The euro was quoted at $1.0035-0036 and 143.97-144.01 yen against $1.0020-0030 and 143.52-62 yen in New York late Monday afternoon.

A wider interest rate gap between the United States and Japan has weighed on the yen, which has also weakened against the euro as the European Central Bank has raised rates to fight inflation, affected by the Russian war on Ukraine.

The Bank of Japan, meanwhile, has stuck to its ultraloose monetary policy to help ensure an economic recovery from the coronavirus pandemic. The BOJ is scheduled to hold its regular two-day policy meeting starting Wednesday.

The dollar’s upside was limited as investors awaited the BOJ’s meeting for any change in its policy to control the slide of the yen, dealers said. The Japanese currency this month depreciated to the upper 144 zone to the dollar, a level unseen over the past 24 years.

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As for the Fed’s meeting, many market participants anticipate a 0.75 percent rate hike.

“Even though minor, there is a possibility that the Fed may go for a 1 percent hike…following the robust U.S. consumer price index released last week,” said Makoto Sengoku, a market analyst at the Tokai Tokyo Research Institute.

But there is also concern that higher borrowing costs could hurt companies’ appetite for fresh investment, weighing on their stocks and leading to slowdowns in the U.S. and world economies, analysts warn.

Tokyo stocks managed gains Tuesday, partly due to advances in technology shares that tracked an overnight gain in the U.S. tech-heavy Nasdaq index.

Semiconductor maker Screen Holdings rose 160 yen, or 1.8 percent, to 9,010 yen, while industrial robot maker Fanuc climbed 185 yen, or 0.9 percent, to 21,805 yen.

Automakers rebounded following recent declines. Honda Motor was up 20 yen, or 0.6 percent, at 3,545 yen, with Subaru gaining 23.5 yen, or 0.9 percent, to 2,549 yen.

Among Prime Market issues, advancing issues outnumbered decliners 1,293 to 477, while 67 ended unchanged.

Trading volume on the Prime Market fell to 1,034.41 million shares from Friday’s 1,417.56 million.

The bellwether 10-year Japanese government bond was untraded Tuesday as investors took to the sidelines ahead of the policy meetings at the Fed and the BOJ, dealers said.

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