Tokyo stocks open up as investors shrug off Syria strikes

AFP – Tokyo stocks opened higher on Monday with exporters rising on a cheaper yen and the apparently limited impact of US-led strikes on Syria.

The benchmark Nikkei 225 index gained 0.23 percent, or 49.51 points, to 21,828.25 in early trade while the broader Topix was up 0.14 percent, or 2.36 points, at 1,731.72.

The dollar firmed to 107.48 yen Monday from 107.35 yen in New York Friday afternoon before the announcement of a wave of Western strikes against Syria’s regime.

A lower yen is positive for Japanese exports as it inflates their earnings abroad.

The strikes "have thus far drawn only verbal condemnation from Russia with Russia’s prediction of ‘global chaos’ if the West hits Syria again not filling markets with fresh dread", Ray Attrill, head of currency strategy at National Australia Bank, said in a client note.

US, French and British missiles destroyed sites suspected of hosting chemical weapons development and storage facilities on the weekend, but the buildings were mostly empty and the Western allies swiftly reverted to diplomatic efforts.

Russian President Vladimir Putin, the Syrian regime’s top ally, warned that fresh strikes would spark "chaos", but Washington vowed economic sanctions against Moscow rather than further military action.

"There are no signs of a further escalation in bilateral (Russia-US) tensions," said SMBC Nikko chief economist Yoshimasa Maruyama.

"Chances are that the future Syrian situation will show a similar development to that of April 2017," he said in a commentary, noting market reactions to the US missile attacks at that time were only temporary.

In Tokyo trade, Canon rose 0.23 percent to 3,874 yen and Sony gained 1.18 percent to 5,307 yen.





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