TOKYO: – Tokyo stocks jumped 2.55 percent on Thursday morning, boosted by a rally on Wall Street and a weaker yen after the US Federal Reserve indicated interest rates would be hiked by mid-2015.
The Nikkei 225 index at the Tokyo Stock Exchange tacked on 428.11 points to 17,247.84 by the break, while the Topix index of all first-section shares climbed 2.52 percent, or 34.08 points, to 1,386.09.
“The Fed pretty much said what markets most wanted to hear — no rate rise for the next three months,” said Daisuke Uno, strategist at Sumitomo Mitsui Banking.
On Wednesday, the dollar rose after the Fed signalled no shift in its expectation to raise interest rates in 2015.
The Federal Open Market Committee “judges that it can be patient in beginning to normalise the stance of monetary policy,” the Fed’s policy arm said in a statement after a two-day meeting.
The central bank said the policy was consistent with its prior statement that it would only begin normalisation “a considerable time” after the end of massive asset purchases, known as quantitative easing, which occurred at a meeting in October.
On Wall Street, the Dow surged 1.69 percent, the S&P 500 rose 2.04 percent and the Nasdaq advanced 2.12 percent.
The dollar surged in New York to 118.63 yen from 117.07 yen in Tokyo earlier Wednesday. On Thursday in Asia it jumped to 118.99 yen before settling back to 118.49 yen.
A weak yen is a positive for Japanese exporters as it makes them more competitive abroad and inflates profits when they are repatriated.
Sony soared 4.37 percent to 2,468.5 yen a day after its Hollywood studio cancelled the December 25 release of “The Interview”, a parody film that has angered North Korea and triggered threats against cinemas from hackers.
“I don’t know how much it (the Sony Pictures decision) is affecting the share price — it’s probably being supported by the overall positive sentiment in the market,” said Hiroaki Hiwata, strategist at Toyo Securities.
Toyota jumped 3.47 percent to 7,391.0 yen, Canon rose 2.17 percent to 3,898.0 yen and market heavyweight Fast Retailing, operator of the Uniqlo clothing chain, rose 2.28 percent to 43,030.0 yen.
Japan Tobacco bounced back 4.55 percent to 3,248.5 yen after tumbling 7.38 percent Wednesday over fears about the strength of the economy in Russia, a major market for the cigarette giant.
— Dow Jones Newswires contributed to this report –