Tokyo stocks finish higher Friday

TOKYO (AP) - Tokyo stocks finished higher Friday after South Korean high-technology giant Samsung Electronics Co. reported better-than-expected earnings for the fourth quarter of last year, countering negative sentiment from Wall Street's losses overnight. 

The U.S. dollar was up against the Japanese yen and the euro. 

The benchmark Nikkei Stock Average of 225 selected issues rose 80.17 points, or 0.71 percent, to close at 11,438.39 points. 

On Thursday, the index lost 95.17 points, or 0.84 percent. 

The broader TOPIX, or the index of all issues on the Tokyo Stock Exchange's first section, gained 5.65 points, or 0.50 percent, to finish Friday's trading at 1,145.69 points. 

The TOPIX fell 7.85 points, or 0.68 percent, the day before. 

The dollar bought 103.01 yen at 3 p.m. (0600 GMT) Friday, up 0.34 yen from late Thursday and above the 102.51 yen it bought in New York overnight. 

Tokyo shares got a boost after Samsung Electronics said its fourth-quarter net profit fell 2 percent from a year earlier, but still beat market forecasts 

The company also announced a bullish investment plan for this year. 

Advantest Corp. and Hitachi Ltd. were among the gainers Friday, as were other technology issues Sony Corp. and Kyocera Corp. UFJ Holdings Inc. and Sumitomo Mitsui Financial Group Inc. 

Sliding shares in New York overnight, however, weighed on the market early in the session. 

But the Nikkei posted more gains later in the day after the government released surprisingly strong machinery orders data for November, brightening investors' view on Japan's economic outlook. 

The government said core machinery orders for November jumped 19.9 percent from the previous month, far exceeding economists' average forecast of a 3.5 percent rise. 

U.S. stocks were pummeled Thursday due to a six-week high in oil prices, rising unemployment and a disappointing forecast from General Motors Corp. 

In New York overnight, the Dow Jones industrial average fell 111.95, or 1.05 percent, to 10,505.83.  

The Nasdaq composite index decline 21.97, or 1.05 percent, at 2,070.56. 

In currencies, the dollar rose against the yen and the euro, following through its strength in New York overnight after European Central Bank President Jean-Claude Trichet downplayed euro-zone inflation fears. 

The euro fell to US$1.3120 Friday afternoon in Tokyo from US$1.3248 late Thursday. The euro also weakened against the Japanese currency, to 135.00 yen from 135.58 yen. 

The yield on Japan's benchmark 10-year government bond rose to 1.3900 percent from Thursday's finish of 1.3700 percent. Its price fell 0.18 to 100.08 points. - AP

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