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Tokyo stocks end slightly higher ahead of US jobs data

TOKYO (AFP/APP): Tokyo stocks trimmed earlier gains but managed to end in positive territory on Friday as investors awaited US jobs data due later in the day.
The benchmark Nikkei 225 index added 0.09 percent or 26.45 points to 29,357.82, while the broader Topix index firmed 0.29 percent or 5.65 points at 1,933.05.

The Nikkei racked healthy gains in morning trade, lifted by rallies on Wall Street that encouraged bargain hunters despite a lack of fresh cues.

But buyers began to slow down in the afternoon session, with many choosing to refrain from making big bets ahead of the release of US employment data for April, analysts said.

“There is a strong sense of investors holding off (from making moves) ahead of the US jobs data and before Japanese corporate earnings season kicks into full gear,” Okasan Online Securities said.

Japan’s government is on Friday expected to prolong a virus state of emergency in Tokyo and other parts of Japan until the end of May, with restrictions also imposed in more regions as cases surge.

But “the market seems to have paid little attention” to that step, SMBC Nikko Securities said.

Japan’s Covid-19 outbreak remains much smaller than in many countries, with just over 10,500 deaths, and it has not imposed the strict lockdowns seen elsewhere.
But its vaccine rollout is moving slowly and record case numbers have been seen in some areas as more infectious variants drive fresh waves of contagion.

The dollar fetched 109.15 yen against 109.09 yen in New York late Thursday.
Among major Tokyo shares, construction equipment maker Komatsu rose 1.47 percent to 3,387 yen.

Tokyo Electron, a major producer of tools to build semiconductors, surged 2.38 percent to 49,910 yen.

Toyota edged up 0.01 percent to 8,364 yen.

Uniqlo-operator Fast Retailing fell 0.73 percent to 92,110 yen.

Sony Group fell 2.29 percent to 10,470 yen. Nintendo also dropped 1.95 percent to 60,410 yen.