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Tokyo stocks close up 0.26%

TOKYO: Tokyo stocks rose 0.26 percent on Thursday, with profit taking more than offset by fresh buying on expectations of higher prices ahead.

The Nikkei 225 index at the Tokyo Stock Exchange climbed 48.24 points to close at 18,751.84, while the Topix index of all first-section issues was up 0.44 percent, or 6.71 points, at 1,523.72.

The market opened lower following a negative lead from Wall Street but buying picked up on the back of a recovery trend in the domestic economy and corporate earnings.

The speed of the recent rise in prices was moderated early on, but players are now looking for fresh buying pegs, Masaaki Yamaguchi, equity market strategist in Tokyo at Nomura Holdings, told Bloomberg News.

Eyes will now turn to the European Central Bank’s (ECB) policy meeting Thursday and Friday’s official US jobs report for February.

ECB president Mario Draghi is expected to unveil details of the bank’s huge bond-purchase programme, which launches this month in a bid to ward off deflation in the eurozone and kickstart growth.

The ECB’s stance is in stark contrast to the Federal Reserve’s plan to exit crisis support, having ended its asset-purchasing plan in October while it is now planning to raise interest rates this year.

In Tokyo share trading, Sharp rose 0.86 percent to 234.0 yen after media reports that the embattled electronics maker’s president would meet main creditors Mitsubishi UFJ Financial Group and Mizuho Financial Group on Thursday to seek financial help.

Sony gained 0.57 percent to 3,344.0 yen, a day after it announced it has sold more than 20.2 million PlayStation 4 game consoles since they hit the market in late 2013.

On currency markets the dollar edged up to 119.86 yen Thursday afternoon from 119.70 yen in New York. -AFP

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