Tokyo stocks open 0.21% higher

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09:15 AM July 18th, 2013

July 18th, 2013 09:15 AM

A man watches an electronic stock indexes in Tokyo, Japan, Wednesday, July 17, 2013. Asian stock markets were mixed Wednesday as investors remained cautious ahead of testimony from U.S. Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke. AP/Azusa Uchikura

TOKYO – Tokyo stocks opened 0.21 percent higher on Thursday following a bounce on Wall Street after reassuring comments from the Federal Reserve chief on the future of the US stimulus program.

The benchmark Nikkei 225 index was up 30.21 points at 14,645.25. The early gains were in line with a modest rise in US shares overnight as the Dow Jones Industrial Average added 0.12 percent to 15,470.52.

The broad-based S&P 500 put on 0.28 percent to touch 1,680.91 while the tech-rich Nasdaq Composite Index increased 0.32 percent to 3,610.00.

The US gains came after US Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke’s comments that the central bank had no firm timetable for cutting back on its bond purchases, and that it would consider reducing its stimulus program only if the economy improves.

“I emphasize that, because our asset purchases depend on economic and financial developments, they are by no means on a preset course,” Bernanke told the lawmakers.

SMBC Nikko Securities general manager of equities Hiroichi Nishi said: “Bernanke’s words were nothing new, but did have a calming effect for those still harboring jitters about a near-term end of the US easing policy.”

The market is now focused on a meeting of the Group of 20 finance ministers and central bank governors in Moscow on Thursday and Friday, brokers said.

Also in the sights is Japan’s national poll on Sunday to elect half of the 242-member upper chamber of parliament.

The dollar was at 99.53 yen in early Thursday trade, slightly down from 99.60 yen in New York on Wednesday afternoon.

The euro bought $1.3117 and 130.64 yen against $1.3125 and 130.73 yen in US trade.

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