Singapore Markets closed

Tokyo stocks up 0.96% by break

Tokyo stocks gained 0.96 percent Wednesday morning after a fresh record close on Wall Street and hopes for an end to Greece's debt stand-off, while a weaker yen supported exporters.

The Nikkei 225 index at the Tokyo Stock Exchange rose 171.87 points to 18,158.96 by the break, while the Topix index of all first-section issues was up 1.23 percent, or 17.97 points, at 1,480.04.

Greek public television said Tuesday that the new government will apply for further aid from its European partners, although will not sign up to the painful austerity measures imposed on the country.

And in an interview with German public broadcaster ZDF Greek Finance Minister Yanis Varoufakis said: "We should extend the credit programme by a few months to have enough stability so that we can negotiate a new agreement between Greece and Europe."

"The market thinks they'll eventually reach a last-minute compromise," said Hiroichi Nishi, an equities manager at SMBC Nikko Securities in Tokyo.

"These assumptions are already being priced into the market," he told Bloomberg News.

The news will come as a relief after two eurozone finance ministers' meetings in the past week both collapsed without agreement as Athens refused to continue with the bailout that imposed swingeing spending cuts and tax hikes.

The apparent change of heart also comes days before its financial lifeline package expires, which would leave the country without any cash and unable to pay its bills, leading it to default and almost certainly leave the eurozone.

On Wall Street the S&P 500 climbed 0.16 percent to a record high for the second straight session, while the Dow added 0.16 percent. The Nasdaq was up 0.11 percent.

In currency trade the dollar bought 119.12 yen, against 118.55 yen in Tokyo on Tuesday after the Bank of Japan said it would stand pat on its vast monetary easing programme for now.

A lower yen is positive for Japanese exporters as it inflates the value of repatriated overseas earnings.

Nissan rose 1.65 percent to 1,195.5 yen while Toyota climbed 1.23 percent to 7,898.0 yen.

Sony gained 1.64 percent to 3,176.5 yen ahead of a business strategy briefing later in the day.