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Tokyo stocks creeps to new five-month high

Tokyo stocks squeezed into positive territory on Tuesday, closing marginally higher at a five-month high after shrugging off earlier profit-taking.

TOKYO: Tokyo stocks squeezed into positive territory on Tuesday, closing marginally higher at a five-month high after shrugging off earlier profit-taking.

The Nikkei 225 index gained 6.96 points to 15,376.24, the best finish since late January, while the Topix index of all first-section issues firmed 0.08 per cent, or 1.02 points, to 1,268.50.

Investors cashed in during early trade, banking profits from the more than nine per cent the Nikkei has gained over the past month.

But stock prices bounced back just into positive territory by the close, with Prime Minister Shinzo Abe due to speak later in the day about his latest plans for economic revival.

Abe is expected to provide details of policies aimed at stoking growth in the world's third largest economy. Earlier this month, the main pillars of the plan were revealed, including cutting corporation taxes.

"Despite many technical signs showing how ripe the market is for a selloff, foreign investors are just not that interested in going short with volatility levels so low," said an equity trading director at a foreign brokerage.

"They may change their positions depending on what Abe says, but usually the content of such presentations is so well-telegraphed ahead of time that the investor reaction is almost anti-climatic."

The dollar fetched 101.94 yen in Tokyo afternoon trade, unchanged from New York Monday afternoon.

Among individual stocks oil and gas developer and producer Inpex tumbled 3.32 per cent to 1,570 yen after recent rises in the share price and as the cost of a barrel of oil dipped.

Factory automation firm Fanuc lost 0.80 per cent to 17,955 yen, while machinery maker Komatsu rose 0.64 per cent to 2,357 yen.

Suntory Beverage & Food jumped 2.72 per cent to 3,955 yen following media reports that parent Suntory Holdings has decided to appoint Takeshi Niinami, the chairman of convenience store operator Lawson, as its new president.

The move is significant in that it would be the first time Suntory has reached beyond the founding family to fill a top managerial role.

Niinami is credited with aggressively expanding Lawson's reach overseas during his 12 years at the helm.

On Wall Street, the Dow and S&P 500 edged down marginally after ending last week at record highs, while the Nasdaq was a touch stronger.

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