The Tokyo stock market is shifting attention to corporate earnings projections to be made public shortly.

The recent government report on industrial output for February and the Bank of Japan’s quarterly “tankan” business sentiment survey were real letdowns.

They offered little evidence of solid economic recovery, only indicating that the economy is about to hit bottom.

With the much-awaited reports out of the way, the market is looking for clues to the prospects for company profits both in Japan and the United States for the year ahead.

A lack of favorable economic news is keeping Tokyo stocks from staging a strong rebound, with attention focusing on isolated corporate reports.

Tokyo stock prices moved steadily higher early last month on a bout of buying of technology issues chiefly by foreign investors, but much of the speculative buying soon ran its course.

Against the backdrop of heightened tensions in the Middle East, investors have opted for crude oil, gold and natural resources issues, but the speculative buying cannot be sustained for long.

Now that the unwinding of cross-shareholdings has subsided, individual investors and brokerage dealers are gearing up for increased purchases of stocks expected to benefit from rising commodity prices.

Yet, it’s still too early to expect a market rally paced by large-capitalization cyclical issues sensitive to ups and downs in domestic demand.

Basically, issues sensitive to foreign demand are always the market’s main driving force. They include auto, precision instrument, electronic parts, semiconductor and other internationally active blue-chip issues.

There appears a good chance that investors will soon reaffirm their confidence in high-tech issues.

Indeed, apparently reflecting the shift in investor preference, the Nikkei index of fast-growing startup and midsize firms listed on the Jasdaq over-the-counter market hit a year-to-date high on April 5.

Tokyo stocks appear likely to begin spurting higher in earnest early next month or shortly thereafter once the market digests corporate earnings forecasts for the year ahead and senses a shift in investor sentiment for the better.

In a time of both misinformation and too much information, quality journalism is more crucial than ever.
By subscribing, you can help us get the story right.