Tokyo Stocks Edge Up as Euro Rises against Yen


Tokyo stocks added 0.11 percent Tuesday as investor fears over the yen's strength slightly eased and they welcomed better-than-expected industrial output data for December.

The Nikkei 225 index at the Tokyo Stock Exchange rose 9.46 points to 8,802.51. The Topix index lost 1.74 points or 0.23 percent to 755.27.

The euro's slight but steady increase against the yen, at least for Tuesday, helped lift sentiment, said Kenichi Hirano, operating officer at Tachibana Securities.

"Earlier, players were anticipating a slide in the euro back below 100 yen during Tuesday's stock trading, but the euro has since recovered," he told Dow Jones Newswires.

The euro held steady around $1.3177 and 100.55 yen in Asian trade, compared with $1.3134 and 100.34 yen in New York late Monday.

The dollar fell to 76.32 yen from 76.67.

But the yen's strength against the dollar prompted Japanese Finance Minister Jun Azumi to reiterate the authorities' resolve to intervene.

"If there is excessive volatility or really speculative movement, I will be vigilant against it, and I will take decisive steps if necessary," he told a regular briefing.

The safe haven Japanese currency soared overnight as investors shunned risks, while EU leaders signed a new treaty aimed at ending deficits and pledged to reach a deal over a new bailout for Greece.

In early trade, the Nikkei received support from stronger-than-expected industrial output data, which showed a 4.0 percent monthly gain in December, said Hiroichi Nishi, general manager of equity division SMBC Nikko Securities.

Analysts had expected a 2.8 percent gain.

Japan's jobless rate edged up to 4.6 percent in December from 4.5 percent in the previous month while household spending rose 0.5 percent, the first increase since the disaster.

Among major shares, gains among shippers helped to support the Nikkei. Mitsui OSK Lines rose 1.05 percent to 288 yen and Nippon Yusen added 1.04 percent to 193 yen.

Toyota Motor rose 0.75 percent to 2,810 yen, Sony added 0.21 percent to 1,391 yen and Nintendo rose 1.37 percent to 10,340 yen.

But beverage giant Kirin Holdings, which replaced presidents of three of its core companies, fell 1.89 percent to 934 yen.

IT firm Canon lost 4.22 percent to 3,290 yen on news its chief executive and chairman, Fujio Mitarai, will return as president from March.

The company said there was no other candidate to take the job after the incumbent Tsuneji Uchida steps down in March.