Business / Financial Markets | TSE DATA & REPORT

Tokyo stocks turn moderately higher on bargain-hunting

JIJI

Stocks staged a moderate rebound on the Tokyo Stock Exchange on Wednesday, chiefly supported by bargain-hunting.

The 225-issue Nikkei average rose 42.07 points, or 0.20 percent, to end at 21,608.92, the first finish above 21,600 since March 5. On Wednesday, the key market gauge gave up 17.65 points.

The Topix index of all first section issues closed up 4.16 points, or 0.26 percent, at 1,614.39, after losing 3.45 points the previous day.

Pressured by selling to square positions, stocks moved on a weak tone in most of the morning session, brokers said.

The market returned to positive territory in the afternoon thanks to purchases of shares that had dropped markedly in recent sessions. But the rebound lacked vigor amid a dearth of powerful buying incentives, they said.

“Investors found it difficult to tilt their positions either way” before the announcement later on Wednesday of the outcome of the U.S. Federal Reserve’s two-day policy meeting, Masahiro Ichikawa, senior strategist at Sumitomo Mitsui Asset Management Co., said.

Players were waiting to see how U.S. stocks will react to the Fed’s monetary policy decision, Ichikawa explained.

He also said active trading was held in check ahead of the market’s closure Thursday for a national holiday.

Mitsuo Shimizu, chief strategist at Aizawa Securities Co., pointed out that stocks were weighed on by “selling on a rally.”

But toward the day’s closing, bargain-hunting and buying to secure rights to receive dividends before the March 27 ex-dividend date gained strength, Shimizu noted.

Rising issues far outnumbered falling ones 1,371 to 676 in the TSE’s first section, while 91 issues were unchanged.

Volume edged up to 1.145 billion shares from Tuesday’s 1.104 billion shares.

Mitsui Mining & Smelting Co. jumped 4.08 percent after Mitsubishi UFJ Morgan Stanley Securities Co. raised its investment rating and target stock price for the company.

Advertising agency Dentsu Inc., chipmaking equipment manufacturer Tokyo Electron and clothing store chain Fast Retailing Co. were also among substantial gainers.

By contrast, game-console-makers Sony Corp. and Nintendo Co. lost ground after U.S. information technology giant Google LLC announced that it will launch a game streaming service called Stadia in North America and Europe by the end of this year.

Other major losers included air conditioner manufacturer Daikin Industries, mobile phone carrier KDDI Corp. and automaker Suzuki Motor Corp.

In index futures trading on the Osaka Exchange, the key June contract on the Nikkei average went up 60 points to finish at 21,430.