Business / Financial Markets | TSE DATA & REPORT

Nikkei gains 164 points as yen eases and equities firm up elsewhere in Asia

JIJI

Stocks staged a rally Friday on the Tokyo Stocks Exchange after investor sentiment was lifted by a weakening yen and climbing indexes in other Asian markets.

The 225-issue Nikkei average gained 163.83 points, or 0.77 percent, to end at 21,450.85. On Thursday, the key market gauge shed 3.22 points.

The Topix index of all first-section issues finished up 14.34 points, or 0.90 percent, at 1,602.63, after giving up 3.78 points the previous day.

The yen’s drop against the dollar on expectations for the Bank of Japan to take a fresh easing step prompted purchases mainly of export-oriented names in morning trading, market sources said.

Although the favorable effects of yen selling subsided after the BOJ announced its decision to stand pat on policy at a two-day Policy Board meeting through Friday, brisk performances in Shanghai and other Asian equities kept Tokyo’s market buoyant in the afternoon, the sources said.

“Investors here found it safe to buy in view of higher stock prices in other parts of Asia,” said Masahiro Ichikawa, senior strategist at Sumitomo Mitsui Asset Management Co.

He said players were little surprised by the British Parliament’s vote on Thursday to push back the March 29 deadline for the so-called British exit from the European Union, or Brexit.

The market failed to go up further in the afternoon, as “‘selling on a rally’ emerged after the Nikkei rose above 21,500,” Ryuta Otsuka, strategist at the investment information department of Toyo Securities Co., said.

Rising issues outnumbered falling ones 1,434 to 634 in the TSE’s first section, while 68 issues were unchanged.

Volume rose to 1.483 billion shares from Thursday’s 1.132 billion shares.

The weaker yen lifted Toyota, chip-making equipment manufacturer Tokyo Electron and other export-oriented names.

Employment information service firm Recruit Holdings, cosmetics maker Shiseido and technology investor SoftBank Group were among other major winners.

By contrast, Ya-man tumbled 12.76 percent after investors grew disappointed with the health and beauty care equipment maker’s operating profit in November-January, brokers said.

Also sold were clothing store chain Fast Retailing, Daiwa House Industry and tech giant Sony.

In index futures trading on the Osaka Exchange, the key June contract on the Nikkei average grew 120 points to end at 21,240.