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Nikkei closes in positive territory despite oil, virus fears

Pedestrian wearing a mask stands in front of a quotation board displaying the share price numbers of the Tokyo Stock Exchange in Tokyo on March 10, 2020.
Pedestrian wearing a mask stands in front of a quotation board displaying the share price numbers of the Tokyo Stock Exchange in Tokyo on March 10, 2020.
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10 Mar 2020 03:03:15 GMT9
10 Mar 2020 03:03:15 GMT9

Tokyo's benchmark Nikkei index bounced back Tuesday from its recent sell-offs sparked by a strong yen, a crash in oil prices and fears over the coronavirus.

The Nikkei 225 index, which shed more than five percent on Monday -- its biggest fall since February 2018 -- rose 0.85 percent, or 168.36 points, to close at 19,867.12.

The broader Topix climbed 1.28 percent, or 17.71 points, to 1,406.68.

Shares had opened sharply lower after major Wall Street indices finished down more than seven percent Monday following an ugly session sparked by an oil price crash and fears over the economic fallout from the coronavirus.

The Nikkei lost more than four percent in early trade but "gradually recovered as investors bought on dips," said Toshikazu Horiuchi, a broker at IwaiCosmo Securities.

"But buying sentiment is not so strong because an end to the outbreak is still not in sight," Horiuchi told AFP.

"Nervous trading is likely to continue for now," he said.
The dollar's recovery against the yen also helped encourage investors to buy back, brokers said.

The greenback fetched 104.77 yen in Asian afternoon trade, against 102.42 yen in New York late Monday.

A cheaper yen brightens outlooks for exporters as it inflates their overseas profits when repatriated.

In Tokyo, Nissan jumped 2.74 percent to 399.9 yen with Toyota up 1.61 percent at 6,600 yen.

Oil-related shares were mixed. Inpex Holding plunged 4.33 percent at 732.8 yen with JXTG Hodlings down 0.93 percent at 370.5 yen, but Japan Petroleum Exploration gained 2.48 percent to 2,023 yen.

Among banks, Sumitomo Mitsui Financial gained 1.93 percent to 2,947.5 yen with Mitsubishi UFJ Financial up 1.68 percent at 439.7 yen.

AFP

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