Tokyo stocks end morning with gains

Tokyo - Tokyo stocks edged up on Thursday morning, recovering slightly from the previous day's sharp losses but gains were capped by a strong yen while investors are looking ahead to a key US healthcare vote later in the day.

The Nikkei slumped more than 2% on Wednesday, in line with a global rout, on concerns Donald Trump's struggles to push healthcare reform through Congress could delay spending and tax-cut measures that helped fire world markets from November.

On Thursday investors tentatively returned to buy bargains but confidence was sapped by fears about Trump's policies and the Federal Reserve's indication last week that interest rates will rise slower than previously thought.

Greg McKenna, chief market strategist at AxiTrader, said: "A not inconsiderable risk is that the administration gets bogged down in the repeal of Obamacare, spends its political capital, and delays the tax and infrastructure plans that so boosted the market."

The Nikkei 225 index ended the morning up 0.14% at 19 068.22 but the Topix index of all first-section issues dipped 0.06% to 1 529.29.

A strong yen also hurt exporters, with the dollar wallowing around four-month lows.

The greenback bought ¥111.42, compared with ¥111.13 in New York, and the ¥111.57 seen in Tokyo earlier Wednesday. It was sitting in the mid-¥113 region at the end of last week.

The yen is considered a safe bet in times of uncertainty or turmoil, but its strength hurts the profitability of Japanese exporters.

Toyota fell 0.34% to ¥6 140, while Honda edged up 0.23% to ¥3 421.0 and Nintendo fell 1.57% to ¥26 975.0.

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ZAR/USD
16.84
(+0.29)
ZAR/GBP
21.26
(+0.41)
ZAR/EUR
19.02
(+0.85)
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11.72
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52587.29
(-0.39)
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