Tokyo stocks close higher on US virus relief

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Japan's household spending dipped 10.2 percent in September on-year, according to the internal affairs ministry data released before the opening bell.
Japan's household spending dipped 10.2 percent in September on-year, according to the internal affairs ministry data released before the opening bell.
Photography by ZhangXun

Tokyo stocks closed higher Monday on positive sentiment over the US coronavirus relief bill, but investors remain cautious over the new strain of Covid-19.

The benchmark Nikkei 225 index rose 0.74%, or 197.42 points, to 26 854.03 while the broader Topix index was up 0.54%, or 9.63 points, at 1 788.04.

US President Donald Trump on Sunday signed the massive bill he had previously refused to approve after tweeting that he had "good news" to come.

"Investors bought back shares, welcoming Trump's tweets on the Covid relief bill," said Toshikazu Horiuchi, a broker at IwaiCosmo Securities.

"But players remained cautious about the impact of rising coronavirus infections, including Japan's first cases of the new strain, on the economy," Horiuchi told AFP.

Japan halted all new non-resident foreign arrivals from overseas from Monday until late January after finding several cases of the new variant, which experts fear is more contagious.

Just before the opening bell on Monday, the government said its industrial production in November was flat compared to the previous month.

"The market largely ignored the figures," Horiuchi said.

Trading remained thin with overseas investors absent for year-end holidays, brokers said. Japanese financial markets will end this year's trading on Wednesday.

The dollar fetched 103.51 yen in Asian afternoon trade against 103.56 on Friday.

In Tokyo, Mitsubishi Heavy Industries rallied 4.96% to 3 046 yen following a report that the firm plans to build a massive zero-carbon steel plant running on hydrogen in Austria.

Nintendo jumped 1.87% to 65 880 yen and Sony gained 2.28% to 10 180 yen as investors bought back shares following recent declines.

Japan Airlines dropped 2.10% to 1,861 yen with its domestic rival ANA Holdings also down 1.44% at 2 148.5 yen on concerns over pandemic-related travel restrictions.

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