Tokyo investors eye Fed meet, Japanese earnings next week

A US central bank meeting and the start of Japan`s earnings season will drive Tokyo shares next week, analysts said Friday, after the ECB`s unprecedented stimulus helped push the Nikkei to a nearly four percent weekly gain.

Tokyo: A US central bank meeting and the start of Japan`s earnings season will drive Tokyo shares next week, analysts said Friday, after the ECB`s unprecedented stimulus helped push the Nikkei to a nearly four percent weekly gain.

Dealers will also watch for the results of weekend elections in Greece, where the left-wing Syriza party could win on its pledge to redraft the country`s multi-billion international bailout package and erase most of its huge debt. 

The election, which has rekindled fears Greece could exit the eurozone, comes after the European Central Bank lit a fire under global equities markets by pledging to inject 1.0 trillion euros ($1.15 trillion) into the bloc`s stagnant economy.

On Friday, the Nikkei 225 index at the Tokyo Stock Exchange rose 1.05 percent, or 182.73 points, to 17,511.75. The benchmark index gained 3.84 percent over the week.

The broader Topix index of all first-section shares climbed 0.99 percent, or 13.79 points, to 1,403.22 by the close. It tacked on 2.90 percent this week.

ECB chief Mario Draghi`s announcement on Thursday that the central bank would spend 60 billion euros a month in quantitative easing beat market expectations by 10 billion euros.

The move came after prices fell in December, stoking fears the 19-nation eurozone is on the brink of a dangerous deflationary spiral -- a situation blamed for weighing on Japan`s once-soaring economy.

"Finally, ECB president (Mario) Draghi made a big decision," Genzo Kimura, an economist at Sumitomo Mitsui Trust Bank, told Bloomberg News. 

"Aside from the US, which will raise rates, various central banks are changing their policies towards immense easing, and that may push other central banks to hold a bias for monetary stimulus. It`s positive for risk assets."

Federal Reserve policymakers are meeting from Tuesday, with markets expecting a mid-year interest rate hike.

On the local stage, firms including Nintendo, Japan Airlines and Honda are set to report their quarterly earnings next week. 

Tokyo investors will also be looking to a slate of Japanese data, due to be released in a week, including inflation and factory output figures.

Sony shares jumped 4.85 percent to end Friday at 2,737.0 yen. After markets closed, the company said it is seeking permission to delay the release of its earnings until next month after a cyberattack at its Hollywood film unit compromised "a large amount of data".

Toyota rose 1.32 percent to 7,685.0 yen, while Uniqlo clothing chain operator Fast Retailing was up 0.89 percent at 42,645.0 yen.

Mobile carrier SoftBank soared 4.24 percent to 7,355.0 yen after announcing it will merge four subsidiaries.

On forex markets, the dollar weakened to 118.32 yen from 118.52 yen in New York.

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