Tokyo stocks up 1.02% by break

Tokyo stocks rose 1.02 percent Wednesday morning as speculation of further central bank easing rose on the back of dismal October trade figures for Japan, knocking down the yen.

The benchmark Nikkei 225 index at the Tokyo Stock Exchange gained 93.21 points to 9,235.85 by the break while the broader Topix index of all first-section shares rose 0.78 percent, or 5.98 points, to 768.02.

The yen has weakened in recent days after Japan's main opposition leader Shinzo Abe, the front runner to become Japan's next prime minister following December elections, called for bolder easing steps by the Bank of Japan (BoJ).

The central bank, having launched easing measures in recent months, held steady after its meeting Tuesday but Abe's comments and recent poor economic data have sparked market speculation that the BoJ will soon take more action.

"Although the BoJ stood pat on its policy Tuesday, expectations continue for easing steps at its next meeting (in December)," said Yoshihiro Okumura, general manager of research at Chibagin Asset Management.

"The yen may weaken until then," he told Dow Jones Newswires.

A strong yen hurts Japanese exporters by making their goods less competitive overseas, so a weakening currency tends to prompt buying of their shares and gives a boost to the market.

Japan on Wednesday posted its worst October trade figures in more than 30 years, underscoring persistent weakness in the world's third-largest economy amid the global slowdown and an export-denting territorial spat with China.

The yen hit a seven-month low on the dollar near the 82 level as finance ministry data showed last month's trade deficit nearly doubled to $6.7 billion from a year ago.

In stock trade, Honda Motor climbed 2.99 percent to 2,652 yen and Sony was up 1.22 percent to 826 yen.

Panasonic edged 0.24 percent lower to 406 yen after Moody's on Tuesday cut its credit rating to just above junk status, the latest blow to Japan's electronics industry which has been mired in losses and ratings downgrades.

Sharp fell 1.74 percent to 169 yen after the embattled electronics maker said nearly 3,000 employees in Japan had applied for an early retirement scheme, as the firm undergoes a huge corporate overhaul to stem losses.

Snack food maker Calbee was down 3.44 percent to 7,010 yen after saying it would recall 5.3 million bags of potato chips in Japan over fears some may contain shards of glass due to an accident at a domestic factory.

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