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Tokyo stocks open higher as worries about US-North Korea tensions ease

The benchmark Nikkei 225 index rose 0.18 percent, or 35.87 points, to 19,774.58 in the first few minutes (Representational Image: Wikimedia Commons/St?fan/Flickr) Photograph: (Others)

AFP New Delhi, India Aug 10, 2017, 04.42 AM (IST)

Tokyo stocks opened higher Thursday as worries about US-North Korea tensions eased while the yen's appreciation against the dollar peaked out.

The benchmark Nikkei 225 index rose 0.18 per cent, or 35.87 points, to 19,774.58 in the first few minutes while the Topix index of all first-section issues was up 0.07 per cent, or 1.12 points, at 1,619.02.

The slight rally came after world stock markets slid Wednesday on concerns linked to the harsh threats and sabre rattling from US President Donald Trump against Pyongyang.

Trump warned North Korean leader Kim Jong-Un that he faced "fire and fury" over his weapons and ballistic missile programs.

Trump, enjoying a working holiday at his New Jersey golf course, went on to boast that the US nuclear arsenal was "more powerful than ever."   

Secretary of State Rex Tillerson took a very different tone, insisting there was "no immediate threat" from North Korea.

"The comments by the State Secretary is a message that nothing important has been decided on North Korea," Haruki Kawaguchi, a manager in the stock trading department at Marusan Securities, told Bloomberg News.

Separately, however, US Defense Secretary Jim Mattis, who has often emphasised the devastating costs any conflict with North Korea could have, delivered a statement underscoring his boss's language.

The dollar fetched 110.09 yen in early Asian trade Thursday, slightly up from 110.02 yen in New York on Wednesday but down from 109.74 yen in Tokyo time Wednesday.

"Amid tensions in the international arena, it's difficult to seek higher prices ahead of three days of holidays," Kawaguchi added.

The Tokyo markets will be closed on Friday for a national holiday and will reopen Monday.

Japan Display dropped 5.12 per cent to 185 yen after the smartphone screen maker said it would slash 3,700 jobs, or about 40 per cent of its workforce, adding the total restructuring costs would be about 170 billion yen ($1.5 billion).

Toyota was up 0.59 per cent at 6,273 yen, Panasonic was up 0.50 per cent at 1,494 yen, and SoftBank was up 0.31 per cent at 8,832 yen.

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