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Tokyo stocks close up with Toyota brisk earnings

Tokyo stocks closed higher on Thursday helped by bargain-hunting purchases, as Toyota reported record first-half profits.

The benchmark Nikkei 225 index ended up 0.11 percent or 26.50 points at 23,330.32 while the broader Topix index was up 0.22 percent or 3.68 points at 1,698.13.

Japanese trade lacked a sense of direction after Wall Street shares ended almost flat, but bargain-hunting purchases of individual shares supported the market, analysts said.

The dollar fetched 108.74 yen in Asian trade, against 108.97 yen in New York.

"Toyota's earnings report released today was sound," Yoshihiro Ito, chief strategist at Okasan Online Securities, said in a commentary.

"Falls in SoftBank bottomed out after declining by about 118 yen at one point, providing a sense of relief to the market," he also said.

Toyota rose 1.13 percent to close at 7,736 yen after it said its first-half net profit edged up to a record from a year earlier, thanks to solid sales and cost-cutting efforts.

SoftBank Group sank 2.22 percent to 4,226 yen after it announced an operating loss of $6.4 billion in the second quarter, the worst in its history, as it took a hit from investments in start-ups including WeWork and Uber.

Mitsubishi Motors dropped 6.81 percent to 492 yen after it sharply cut its full-year operating profit forecast.

Its bigger rival Honda was down 0.56 percent at 3,014 yen, ahead of an earnings report due on Friday.