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Tokyo shares close up on China data, weaker yen

International Business
Tue, 19 Jan 2016

Tokyo shares closed 0.55 per cent higher Tuesday after China released data showing the world's number two economy grew last year in line with expectations.

Official figures showed GDP growth came in at 6.9 per cent last year, its weakest rate for a quarter of a century and below the 7.3 per cent of 2014.

However, the figures broadly met the government's forecast of "around seven per cent", while exactly matching the prediction of an AFP survey, and helped lift investor sentiment.

"Beijing will be anxious to ensure growth momentum does not slow excessively," Bernard Aw, a Singapore-based strategist at IG Asia, told Bloomberg News.

"More stimulus might be in the works in the first half of 2016."Tokyo's benchmark Nikkei 225 index eked out a 92.80 point gain to close at 17,048.37, reversing earlier losses.

The broader Topix index of all first-section shares ticked up 0.18 per cent, or 2.48 points, to 1,390.41.

The dollar rose against the Japanese currency after investors cautiously moved into riskier assets.

The greenback gained to 117.79 yen from 117.33 yen late Monday in London. US markets were closed Monday for Martin Luther King Day.

A weaker yen boosts the overseas profitability of Japan's exporters and tends to increase demand for their shares.

In individual share trading, Nintendo advanced 9.07 per cent to 15,990 yen after Bank of America and Macquarie upgraded their outlook for the video game maker.

Toyota gained 0.91 per cent to 6,804 yen, while Nissan advanced 1.36 per cent to 1,114.5 yen.

Sony rose 1.67 per cent to 2,666.5 yen and Uniqlo-operator Fast Retailing, a market heavyweight, tacked on 1.33 per cent to 37,220 yen.

Energy-linked stocks also rose. Petroleum-explorer Inpex added 1.20 per cent to 997.1 yen, while JX Holdings was up 1.02 per cent at 434 yen.

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