Business / Financial Markets | TSE DATA & REPORT

Tokyo stocks rally on buybacks

JIJI

Stocks turned higher on the Tokyo Stock Exchange Friday, supported by buybacks following a plunge the previous day and an overnight rebound in U.S. equities.

The 225-issue Nikkei average rose 172.05 points, or 0.82 percent, to end at 21,205.81. On Thursday, the key market gauge fell 344.97 points.

The Topix index of all first-section issues gained 8.79 points, or 0.56 percent, to 1,591.64, after falling 26.64 points the previous day.

Sentiment improved after Wall Street advanced on Thursday on renewed hopes for progress in U.S.-China trade talks, brokers said.

The yen’s fall against the dollar and a rise in Shanghai stocks also gave investors a sense of relief, they said.

After the initial buying ran its course, however, Japanese stocks moved narrowly, brokers said.

“Investors found it difficult to make fresh moves as Friday fell on the last trading day of fiscal 2018,” said Mitsuo Shimizu, chief strategist at Aizawa Securities Co., explaining Japanese stocks’ top-heaviness.

Also weighing on stocks was investor caution over the course of U.S.-China trade talks, brokers said.

Tomoaki Fujii, head of the investment research division at Akatsuki Securities Inc., said he saw no signs of institutional investors’ window-dressing buying to spruce up their portfolios at the fiscal year-end.

Rising issues outnumbered falling ones 1,199 to 857 in the TSE’s first section, while 83 issues were unchanged.

Volume decreased to 1.17 billion shares from 1.23 billion shares on Thursday.

Pharmaceutical firms rose. Daiichi-Sankyo jumped 15.91 percent, Shionogi climbed 2.01 percent and Astellas gained 1.31 percent.

Shipping firms Mitsui O.S.K. Lines, Kawasaki Kisen and Nippon Yusen were also higher.

Other major winners included Softbank Group and Yaskawa Electric.

On the other hand, power suppliers and gas firms fell, among them Tepco, Chubu Electric and Tokyo Gas.

Also on the minus side were clothing retailer Fast Retailing and Toyota.

In index futures trading on the Osaka Exchange, the key June contract on the Nikkei average rose 130 points to end at 21,190.