Tokyo stocks close higher amid caution ahead of Powell speech

Tokyo stocks closed higher Friday as a tech-led rally overnight on Wall Street lifted their Japanese peers, but gains were capped ahead of a speech by Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell amid concerns over the future course of U.S. monetary policy.

The 225-issue Nikkei Stock Average added 162.37 points, or 0.57 percent, from Thursday to close the day at 28,641.38.

The broader Topix index, meanwhile, gained 2.99 points, or 0.15 percent, to finish at 1,979.59.

Dealers here said that high-technology shares gaining traction on the Nasdaq overnight coupled with lower U.S. bond yields, saw technology issues here snapped up.

The market mood was also buoyed to a degree by data in the U.S. released Thursday showing jobless claims were not as high as expected, along with quarterly gross domestic product data being upwardly revised, they added.

While the data helped ease some concerns over the health of the U.S. economy, analysts here said investors remained largely circumspect ahead of Powell’s speech amid concerns that the Fed’s continued aggressive monetary policy to tame inflation could lead to the world’s largest economy slipping into a recession.

“The Fed chief is likely to avoid giving hints that would hurt the stock market by stirring speculation about the specific sizes of interest rate hikes for the upcoming policy meeting next month,” Masahiro Ichikawa, chief market strategist at Sumitomo Mitsui DS Asset Management Co., was quoted as saying.

By the close of play, machinery, electric appliance and textile issues comprised those that gained the most, with falling issues just outpacing rising ones by 867 to 864 on the Prime Market, while 106 ended the day unchanged.

Among tech issues finding favor, chipmaking equipment maker Tokyo Electron gained 2.2 percent, while Advantest ended 1.3 percent higher.

Sony Group added 1.0 percent, while heavily-weighted component SoftBank Group rose 1.2 percent.

Fellow heavyweight Fast Retailing, operator of the Uniqlo store chain, meanwhile, ended the day 1.1 percent higher.

On the Prime Market on Friday, 855.51 million share changed hands, dropping from Thursday’s volume of 906.45 million shares.

The turnover on the final trading day of the week came to 2,054.89 billion yen (14.99 billion U.S. dollars). ■

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