Tokyo stocks open higher with eyes on leadership race

·2-min read

Tokyo stocks opened higher on Friday on bargain-hunting purchases, with investors focused on domestic politics as campaigning in the ruling party's leadership race kicks off.

The benchmark Nikkei 225 index was up 0.34 percent or 102.64 points at 30,425.98 in early trade, while the broader Topix index edged up 0.05 percent or 1.02 points to 2,091.18.

"Expectations for (economic stimulus) under the next government remain high as campaigning in the party leadership election kicks off today," senior strategist Yoshihiro Ito of Okasan Online Securities said.

"Investors who aim to receive dividends from shares sensitive to economic cycles are actively bargain-hunting," he added.

Four Japanese politicians hoping to replace Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga launched their campaigns on Friday ahead of a September 29 vote to decide who heads the ruling Liberal Democratic Party (LDP).

The winner of the vote will become prime minister days later and will lead the LDP into a general election that must be held by late November.

The LDP, which has held power almost continuously for decades, is expected to retain its majority.

The dollar fetched 109.74 yen in early Asia trade, against 109.71 yen in New York on Thursday.

Nippon Steel dropped 7.55 percent to 2,116.5 yen after it announced plans to sell 300 billion yen ($2.7 billion) of convertible bonds.

Shinsei Bank was down 0.52 percent at 1,895 yen after it said details of SBI Holdings' tender offer includes "inaccurate or insufficient" information.

SBI Holdings was up 0.89 percent at 2,848 yen.

Among other shares, chip-maker Renesas Electronics was up 1.66 percent at 1,412 yen, IT firm NEC was up 1.27 percent at 6,400 yen, and Chugai Pharmaceutical was up 0.73 percent at 4,157 yen.

Wall Street stocks finished little changed following mixed economic data.

The Dow fell 0.2 percent to 34,751.32 and the broad-based S&P shed 0.2 percent, while the tech-rich Nasdaq added 0.1 percent.

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