Business / Financial Markets | TSE DATA & REPORT

Tokyo stocks close higher in thin trading

JIJI

Stocks gained further ground on the Tokyo Stock Exchange on Wednesday, although active trading was held in check amid a dearth of new incentives.

The 225-issue Nikkei average rose 34.75 points, or 0.15 percent, to end at 22,848.22, extending its winning streak to a seventh session. Tuesday, the key market gauge edged up 13.83 points.

The Topix index of all first-section issues closed up 7.97 points, or 0.46 percent, at 1,739.60, after adding 2.68 points the previous day.

The bullish market mood continued in Tokyo after the S&P 500 and tech-heavy Nasdaq composite indexes rewrote their all-time highs in the United States overnight, brokers said.

But the market’s topside was capped by selling to lock in profits, brokers said.

“The Tokyo market’s continuing strength reflected growing expectations for easing of trade friction and the strong U.S. economy,” an official of a major securities firm said, noting a U.S.-Mexico deal to revise the North American Free Trade Agreement, announced Monday.

“Profit-taking hit the market when the Nikkei approached 23,000, like yesterday,” said Ryuta Otsuka, strategist at the investment information department of Toyo Securities Co.

For the Nikkei average to go over 23,000 firmly, the market will need more trading value and buying incentives, Otsuka added.

“Developments in trade issues will be the key for Tokyo stocks” in longer terms, the major securities firm official said.

Rising issues outnumbered falling ones 1,443 to 584 in the TSE’s first section, while 74 issues were unchanged.

Volume decreased to 1.126 billion shares from 1.195 billion shares Tuesday.

Financial names were upbeat after a rise in U.S. long-term interest rates on Tuesday. Major gainers included megabank group Mitsubishi UFJ Financial Group Inc. and insurer Dai-ichi Life Holdings Inc.

Kuraray advanced 2.8 percent after Nomura Securities Co. revised up its investment rating for the chemical-maker, brokers said.

Other major winners included nonferrous metal producers Sumitomo Metal Mining Co., Mitsui Mining and Smelting Co. and Mitsubishi Materials Corp., as well as shipping firm Mitsui OSK Lines and game-maker Nintendo Co.

On the other hand, Taiheiyo Cement Corp. lost 0.44 percent after JP Morgan Securities Japan Co. lowered its investment rating and stock price target for the cement-maker, market sources said.

Also lower were drugstore chain Kusuri No Aoki Holdings Co. and clothing retailer Fast Retailing Co.

In index futures trading on the Osaka Exchange, the key September contract on the Nikkei average gained 50 points to end at 22,850.