ASIA MARKETS: Nikkei Swings To Slight Gains As Other Asian Markets Rise
By Suryatapa Bhattacharya
Weaker yen boosts Japanese exporters
TOKYO -- Japanese equities struggled for direction early Thursday despite a weaker yen, even as other markets in the region were broadly higher.
The Nikkei Stock Average was nearly unchanged in morning trade at 20,619, with the market facing more resistance as the benchmark index nears its 2015 peak, which was the highest since 1996.
"In a few hours traders may move but for now they are struggling for new trading cues, good or bad," said Masashi Murata, currency strategist at Brown Brothers Harriman.
Still, slight gains in the U.S. dollar versus the yen overnight helped support shares of exporters, as a weaker yen raises the value in local currency terms of the dollars earned by Japanese exporters abroad.
Electronics major Sharp Corp.'s (6753.TO) shares gained 3.1%, while Nintendo (7974.TO) climbed 0.9% and Toyota Motor (7203.TO) shares were up 1%.
Trading in the region was muted as several key markets were shut for holidays. Markets in South Korea and China are closed for the entire week, while Hong Kong was shut on Thursday.