Business / Financial Markets | TSE DATA & REPORT

Tokyo stocks advance further on halt to yen’s rise

JIJI

Stocks gained further ground Tuesday on the Tokyo Stock Exchange thanks to a halt of the yen’s strengthening against the dollar.

The 225-issue Nikkei average rose 144.07 points, or 0.66 percent, to end at 21,968.10, after gaining 354.83 points Monday.

The Topix index of all first-section issues closed up 9.73 points, or 0.56 percent, at 1,751.03. It climbed 25.82 points the previous day.

The Nikkei and Topix both extended their winning streaks to a fourth session.

The Tokyo market opened weaker, with investor sentiment battered by the yen’s rise against the dollar, brokers said. The Nikkei average briefly lost over 120 points soon after the opening bell.

Cutting the losses thanks to buying on dips, however, the key market indicators fluctuated narrowly around the previous day’s closing levels later in the morning.

The market gained an upward momentum in the afternoon in line with a weakening of the Japanese currency, brokers said.

“Individual investors hunted small-cap issues vigorously,” pushing up the overall market, said Chihiro Ota, general manager for investment research and investor services at SMBC Nikko Securities Inc.

Ryuta Otsuka, strategist at the investment information department of Toyo Securities Co., said the market staged the rally in the afternoon thanks to “purchases apparently by nonresidents.”

Some investors retreated to the sidelines amid a lack of major fresh trading incentives, said Tomoaki Fujii, head of the investment research division at Akatsuki Securities Inc.

Active trading was held in check due also to “uncertainties over the Moritomo issue,” Fujii said, referring to an unfolding scandal over a controversial discount sale of state land to private school operator Moritomo Gakuen.

Winners far outnumbered losers 1,579 to 419 in the TSE’s first section, while 71 issues were unchanged.

Volume edged down to 1.221 billion shares from Monday’s 1.253 billion shares.

Semiconductor-related Tokyo Electron Ltd., Sumco and Screen Holdings Co. were buoyant after their U.S. peers fared well in New York on Monday.

Also on the plus side were game maker Capcom Co. as well as industrial equipment manufacturers Yaskawa Electric Corp. and Fanuc Corp.

By contrast, oil companies JXTG Holdings Inc., Inpex Corp., Cosmo Energy Holdings Co., Showa Shell Sekiyu KK and Japex Co. met with selling on the back of lower crude oil prices.

Other major losers included Nippon Paint Holdings Co. and price comparison website operator Kakaku.com.

In index futures trading on the Osaka Exchange, the key June contract on the Nikkei average rose 80 points to 21,800.