Nikkei rebounds on weaker yen, Chinese stocks


The benchmark Nikkei 225 average bounced back modestly Wednesday, helped by the yen’s weakening against other major currencies and surges in Chinese stocks.

The average closed up 36.38 points, or 0.39 percent, at 9,468.84, but the Topix edged down 0.11 point, or 0.01 percent, to end at 781.86, snapping its four-session winning streak.

The Tokyo market opened lower following a pause in the yen’s weakening and overnight falls in American equities due to limited progress in talks to avert the so-called U.S. fiscal cliff. But the Nikkei turned higher later and briefly topped 9,500 in early afternoon trade as many export-oriented issues recouped earlier losses on the back of the yen’s fall and sharp gains in the Chinese market.

China’s market was boosted by a Beijing think tank’s forecast that the country’s economy will grow 8.2 percent in 2013, faster than around 7.7 percent this year, market sources noted. The Nikkei, however, failed to stay above 9,500.

“Selling pressure tends to become strong when the Nikkei comes close to 9,500,” said Toshiyuki Kanayama at Monex Inc. “If there were more supporting factors, it could have risen further.”

Some issues, including major real estate developers, came under selling to lock in profits due to a sense of overheating after the recent rally, brokers said.

Kanayama said that profit-taking is expected to continue capping the Nikkei’s upside in the near term unless there is a major change in the external environment, now that the market has factored in hopes for the next government after the Dec. 16 general election.

Winners outnumbered losers 917 to 588 on the first section, while volume rose to 1.836 billion shares from Tuesday’s level of 1.738 billion.

Clothing retailer Fast Retailing ended up 3 percent after hitting a new year-to-date high on sharp growth in its domestic Uniqlo same-store sales in November. Sharp soared 4 percent a day after the ailing electronics maker announced it would accept a massive capital injection from Qualcomm Inc. of the U.S.

JGBs rise on buybacks

Japanese government bonds rose Wednesday on buybacks after a rise in U.S. Treasuries overnight.

The lead December futures contract on 10-year JGBs ended up 0.12 at 144.99. Turnover slipped to 28,344 contracts from Tuesday’s 28,418.