Tokyo stocks open up 0.63%

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Men look at the electronic stock board of a securities firm in Tokyo, Tuesday, Dec. 18, 2012. AP FILE PHOTO

TOKYO – Tokyo stocks opened 0.63 percent higher on Thursday, helped by a steadily weakening yen.

The Nikkei 225 index at the Tokyo Stock Exchange, which climbed 1.49 percent to hit a nine-month high the previous day, added another 64.90 points to 10,295.26 at the outset.

“The weaker yen should easily offset US stocks’ third straight fall, allowing the Nikkei to break its 2012 high of 10,255.15 set in February,” said SMBC Nikko Securities general manager of equities Hiroichi Nishi.

The dollar rose to its highest level in more than two years against the yen overnight as Shinzo Abe was sworn in as prime minister amid expectations the Bank of Japan would initiate more monetary easing steps under his leadership.

Abe — whose Liberal Democratic Party won a landslide election victory this month — has heaped pressure on the central bank to take bold easing steps.

The dollar was at 85.66 yen in early Asian trade, almost unchanged from New York Wednesday afternoon.

The euro fetched 113.25 yen and $1.3226 compared with 113.19 yen $1.3223.

Toyota shares opened up 1.04 percent at 3,870 yen Thursday after the automaker said it had agreed to pay about $1.1 billion to settle a class action lawsuit launched by US vehicle owners affected by a series of mass recalls.

US stocks fell Wednesday amid uncertainty about whether a deal to avert the “fiscal cliff” could be reached by an end-of-year deadline.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average was down 0.19 percent to finish the session at 13,114.59.

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