Business / Financial Markets | TSE DATA & REPORT

Nikkei rallies to 21,602 amid weaker yen and upbeat U.S. data

JIJI

Stocks staged a rebound Friday on the Tokyo Stock Exchange as the yen weakened against the dollar following the release of positive U.S. economic data Thursday.

The 225-issue Nikkei average rose 217.53 points, or 1.02 percent, to close at 21,602.69. On Thursday, the key market gauge fell 171.35 points.

The Topix index of all first-section issues gained 8.06 points, or 0.50 percent, to end at 1,615.72. It lost 12.76 points the previous day.

Investors bought back shares as the dollar hit fresh two-month highs far above ¥111.50 following the release of stronger-than-expected U.S. gross domestic product data for October-December and the Chicago purchasing managers index for February, brokers said.

The office of the U.S. Trade Representative on Thursday meanwhile announced it would suspend an additional tariff hike scheduled for Chinese imports until further notice, helping to improve sentiment in the Tokyo market, the brokers said.

A rise in U.S. Dow Jones industrial average futures in off-hours trading was also positive for Japanese stocks, according to the brokers.

The Tokyo market showed resilience after falling “too much” the previous day, said Mitsuo Shimizu, chief strategist at Aizawa Securities Co. An inflow of fresh money at the start of a new month may have supported the rebound, Shimizu added.

The closely watched U.S.-North Korean summit, which ended without an agreement Thursday, was a big event politically but its stock market impact in Tokyo was limited, brokers said.

Rising issues outnumbered falling ones 1,180 to 859 in the TSE’s first section, while 91 issues were unchanged.

Volume decreased to 1.148 billion shares from 1.301 billion shares Thursday.

Export-oriented issues fared well thanks to the weaker yen. Semiconductor-related Tokyo Electron added 1.55 percent, industrial robot producer Fanuc 1.93 percent and Yaskawa Electric 2.69 percent.

Travel agency H.I.S. gained 2.82 percent after announcing on Thursday strong earnings and a stock listing plan for theme park unit Huis Ten Bosch Co.

Among other winners were clothing retailer Fast Retailing and tech conglomerate SoftBank Group.

In the meantime, shipping firms were downbeat. Mitsui O.S.K. Lines fell 2.22 percent, Kawasaki Kisen 2.86 percent and Nippon Yusen 1.20 percent.

Department store operator J. Front Retailing lost ground due to a downward revision to consolidated earnings forecasts for the year to February.

Also on the minus side were mobile phone carrier KDDI and steel-maker Kobe Steel.

In index futures trading on the Osaka Exchange, the key March contract on the Nikkei average added 230 points to end at 21,620.

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