Tokyo stocks open 0.73% higher

TOKYO (AFP) - Tokyo stocks opened up 0.73 per cent Thursday after the dollar firmed on comments by the Federal Reserve chief that the stimulus taper would continue steadily.

The Nikkei 225 index was up 102.96 points at 14,136.41 at the start.

The dollar edged higher on Wednesday after Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen said that the US economy was on track for solid growth in the second quarter and that tapering of stimulus measures would push ahead.

But the move upward was tempered by Yellen's reiteration of the Fed's overall dovish stance, saying that the economy still needed the help of ultra-low interest rates and that there was still no threat from inflation.

The dollar was at 101.89 yen early Thursday, compared with 101.87 yen in New York Wednesday afternoon after the Congressional testimony by Yellen.

The euro fetched US$1.3909 and 141.71 yen against US$1.3911 and 141.74 yen in US trade.

US stocks Wednesday finished mostly higher following more-conciliatory statements by Russia's president amid the Ukraine crisis, but weak earnings from some technology stocks pushed the Nasdaq into the red.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 0.72 per cent to 16,518.54, while the Nasdaq Composite Index fell 0.32 per cent to 4,067.67.

There was some easing in geopolitical tensions over Ukraine after Russian President Vladimir Putin told pro-Russian rebels fighting in east Ukraine to halt plans for independence referendums.