Business / Financial Markets | TSE DATA & REPORT

Nikkei average finishes above 20,000

JIJI

The benchmark Nikkei average powered higher to close above 20,000 on the Tokyo Stock Exchange on Thursday, thanks to a strong overnight rally in U.S. equities.

The 225-issue Nikkei average jumped 750.56 points, or 3.88 percent, to end at 20,077.62 — its first finish above 20,000 since Friday. It had gained 171.32 points Wednesday.

The Topix index of all first-section issues closed up 70.16 points, or 4.90 percent, at 1,501.63, after climbing 15.92 points the previous day.

The Tokyo market attracted hefty purchases across the board after the Dow Jones industrial average closed 1,086.25 points, or 4.98 percent, higher in New York on Wednesday, posting its largest single-day point gain ever.

The yen’s weakening against the dollar also served as a tailwind to Japanese shares, market sources said.

“Investor sentiment improved to some extent” on the back of the strong U.S. market, traced partly to the announcements of brisk U.S. retail sales data for the holiday season, an official at a bank-linked securities firm said.

The official also said Wall Street’s rally came after Kevin Hassett, chairman of the White House Council of Economic Advisers, denied the possibility that Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell would be fired by President Donald Trump.

Tomoaki Fujii, head of the investment research division at Akatsuki Securities Inc., expressed his view that Japanese stocks advanced Thursday after they had been oversold.

Ryuta Otsuka, strategist at the investment information department of Toyo Securities Co., said the Tokyo market attracted “mainly buybacks.”

Rising issues overwhelmed falling ones 2,112 to 11 in the TSE’s first section, while six issues were unchanged.

Trading volume increased to 1.576 billion shares from Wednesday’s 1.388 billion shares.

Cosmetics maker Shiseido Co., daily goods manufacturer Kao Corp., convenience store operator FamilyMart Uny Holdings Co. and other issues related to personal consumption attracted heavy purchases after U.S. retail stocks fared well in New York on Wednesday.

Higher crude oil prices lifted oil companies JXTG Holdings Inc., Idemitsu Kosan Co., Showa Shell Sekiyu KK and Inpex Corp.

Other major winners included mobile phone carrier SoftBank Corp. and air conditioner producer Daikin Industries.

Meanwhile, clothing retailer Taka-Q Co. was among a handful of losers.

In index futures trading on the Osaka Exchange, the key March 2019 contract on the Nikkei average shot up 630 points to end at 20,020.

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