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Nikkei yo-yos, then settles for just small gains

JIJI

The benchmark Nikkei average eked out small gains Wednesday, after swinging between positive and negative territories while watching the moves of the yen and other Asian stock markets.

The 225-issue Nikkei average closed up 27.95 points, or 0.21 percent, at 13,424.33. On Tuesday, the key market gauge tumbled 361.75 points. But the Topix index of all first-section issues fell 3.53 points, or 0.31 percent, to end at 1,121.74, after losing 23.86 points the previous day.

Buybacks gained the upper hand in early trading after Tuesday’s plunge and an overnight fall in the key U.S. long-term interest rate, with the Nikkei average briefly rising more than 100 points.

But the key market yardstick erased earlier gains in late morning trading after some Asian markets opened lower.

Led by index futures, the Nikkei recovered in the afternoon as some Asian markets, including those in India and Indonesia, staged a rebound.

Investors have been focusing on overseas factors this week amid a dearth of domestic incentives, brokers said.

“Although rebounds in the Indian and Indonesian markets helped push the Nikkei average back into positive territory, there are no factors to stimulate further buying (of Japanese stocks),” said Kenichi Hirano, adviser and market analysts at Tachibana Securities Co.

But according to a technical chart analysis, “it may be a good sign that the Nikkei stopped short of falling to 13,213 before rebounding,” Hirano noted.

Market players are waiting for minutes of the U.S. Federal Reserve’s policy-setting meeting on July 30-31 to be released later Wednesday to find any hints about when the U.S. central bank will start tapering off its asset buying program.

JGBs log advance

Japanese government bonds advanced Wednesday on the back of sluggish stock prices and a smooth JGB-buying operation by the Bank of Japan, with a key 10-year JGB yield briefly hitting a three-month low.

The yield on the latest 329th 10-year JGB issue with a 0.8 percent coupon dropped to 0.720 percent at one point, the lowest level for a key 10-year JGB yield since May 10, before standing at 0.730 percent in late interdealer trading, down from 0.740 percent late Tuesday.

The lead September futures contract on 10-year JGBs rose 0.13 point to end at 144.12. Turnover decreased to 18,608 contracts from Tuesday’s 21,559.