Tokyo stocks recover morning losses by break

Tokyo stocks edged higher Friday morning as they recouped early losses sparked by profit-taking, and after the appointment of a new Bank of Japan chief known to favour aggressive monetary easing.

The benchmark Nikkei 225 index was up 0.06 percent, or 6.36 points, at 11,565.72 by the break while the Topix index of all first-section issues rose 0.43 percent, or 4.22 points, to 979.88.

The Nikkei opened down 0.82 percent after Wall Street ended in the red following its flirtation with an all-time high, while a weakening yen also helped boost Japan's premier bourse.

"The yen remains the critical determinant, and stock prices remain very sensitive to foreign exchange levels. Profit-taking can easily give way to opportunistic buying," said Okasan Securities strategist Hideyuki Ishiguro.

On forex markets, the dollar was buying 92.64 yen in Tokyo midday trade against 92.58 yen in New York Thursday afternoon, while the euro fetched 121.08 yen from 120.95 yen.

On Thursday, Tokyo nominated a finance veteran to lead the central bank, selecting a kindred spirit who backs Prime Minister Shinzo Abe's hard-driving agenda to reverse decades of economic gloom.

The widely expected appointment of Asian Development Bank head Haruhiko Kuroda to lead the Bank of Japan was likely to stoke further speculation of more aggressive easing measures to boost the economy.

Weighing on sentiment were weak fourth-quarter US economic data and the expected onset of steep US government spending cuts Friday, renewing concerns over the wider impact on the global economy.

Shrugging off the spending reductions, the Dow Jones Industrial Average pushed to 14,149.15 at midday Thursday, just below the all-time record of 14,164.53 reached on October 9, 2007. By the close, however, the blue-chip index slipped 0.15 percent to 14,054.49.

In Tokyo trade Friday, real estate firms rose, with Mitsubishi Estate up 4.11 percent to 2,405 yen and Mitsui Fudosan rising 2.16 percent to 2,409 yen.

Utilities also rose with Tokyo Electric Power up 1.42 percent to 213 yen on hopes that nuclear reactors switched off after the 2011 Fukushima disaster would be switched on. Abe said Thursday his government would allow reactor restarts if their safety is confirmed.