Business / Financial Markets

Nikkei rises to nearly 27-year high on weaker yen

Kyodo, AFP-JIJI, JIJI

The 225-issue Nikkei average temporarily climbed to its highest level in nearly 27 years Friday morning as a weaker yen supported exporters and investors expected favorable Japanese corporate earnings.

After hitting a record high of 24,286.10, the benchmark index ended at 24,120.04 at the day’s closing, up 1.36 percent from the previous day. It failed to break this year’s highest closing price of 24,124.15.

The Topix index was up 0.95 percent, or 17.14 points, at 1,817.25. It rose 0.73 percent over the week.

“Positive trading factors, including a weak yen, dominated the market,” said Toshikazu Horiuchi, a broker at IwaiCosmo Securities.

A cheaper yen brightens outlooks for exporters as it inflates their overseas profits when repatriated.

The dollar was changing hands at ¥113.52, up from ¥113.39 in New York on Thursday afternoon.

“Concerns over U.S. trade pressure on Japan are easing for now following trade talks in New York, which also supported investors’ sentiment here,” Horiuchi said.

After talks on the sidelines of the United Nations General Assembly, U.S. President Donald Trump and Prime Minister Shinzo Abe announced on Wednesday in New York an agreement to start negotiations on a trade deal.

Abe later told reporters the two leaders had agreed to “refrain from taking measures against the spirit of” their agreement, “which means the U.S. will not impose” additional tariffs on Japanese-made cars.

In the individual stocks trade, SoftBank Group jumped 4.65 percent to ¥11,470, Sony soared 4.51 percent to ¥6,966 and Nintendo climbed 1.54 percent to ¥41,460.

Toyota rose 1.24 percent to ¥7,095 and Nissan gained 0.94 percent to ¥1,063.5.

Panasonic, which supplies battery cells to electric car company Tesla Motors, fell 1 percent to ¥1,323.5.

The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission on Thursday charged Tesla CEO Elon Musk with securities fraud, alleging he had misled investors last month in tweets about taking the company private.

The market started on a high note following a robust climb in U.S. technology shares Thursday, as investors were also heartened by the yen’s fall to a nine-month low against the dollar, boosting export-related issues, brokers said.

In the morning session, the Nikkei index hit its highest intraday level since Nov. 15, 1991, after rapidly climbing more than 7 percent in 11 trading days through Friday.

“Investors’ risk appetite grew on the yen’s further retreat against the dollar and solid U.S. durable goods orders for August released overnight,” said Hiroaki Kuramochi, chief market analyst at Saxo Bank Securities Ltd.

He added that the Nikkei index could reach 25,000 points by the end of the year, supported by firm earnings reports from Japanese exporters expected due to the weaker yen.

“Investors stepped up buying on the back of improved fundamentals,” said Mitsuo Shimizu, chief strategist at Aizawa Securities Co.

Referring to the Nikkei’s failure to maintain its 27-year highs at the close, the major securities firm official said profit-taking gained strength when the index rose above 24,100.

Rising issues outnumbered falling ones 1,399 to 623 in the Tokyo Stock Exchange’s first section, while 82 issues were unchanged.