Business / Financial Markets | TSE DATA & REPORT

Nikkei ends moderately higher at 21,746 in thin trading ahead of U.S. jobs report

JIJI

Stocks managed to extend their gains Friday while investors sat on the fences to wait for the U.S. Labor Department’s employment report for June.

The 225-issue Nikkei average rose 43.93 points, or 0.20 percent, to end at 21,746.38 on the Tokyo Stock Exchange after gaining 64.29 points Thursday.

The Topix index of all first-section issues closed up 2.80 points, or 0.18 percent, at 1,592.58. It rose 10.24 points the previous day.

Both indexes fluctuated around Thursday’s closing levels in early morning trading due to a lack of fresh trading incentives, brokers said.

Stocks expanded losses later in the morning, pressured by the sluggish performance of their Shanghai counterparts. But the market bounced back toward noon and remained buoyant in the afternoon, supported by individual investors’ buying of issues backed by brisk earnings, brokers said.

“Market players were reluctant to tilt positions either way before seeing the headline nonfarm payroll number” in the U.S. jobs report, due out later Friday, Yutaka Miura, senior technical analyst at Mizuho Securities Co., pointed out.

“Trading was lethargic with fewer foreign participants after the U.S. Independence Day holiday,” said Tomoaki Fujii, head of the investment research division at Akatsuki Securities Inc.

Rising issues outnumbered falling ones 1,208 to 841 in the TSE’s first section, while 100 issues were unchanged.

Volume rose to 933 million shares from Thursday’s 882 million.

Retail group Seven & I Holdings soared 3.60 percent, thanks to better-than-expected net operating profit for March to May.

Medical equipment maker Mani went up 7.41 percent after announcing a stock split plan and bullish earnings for the first three quarters of its business year through August.

Also on the positive side were tobacco giant JT and mayonnaise maker Kewpie.

On the other hand, Osaka Organic Chemical Industry dropped 1.15 percent after its earnings results for the December-May first half of its business year failed to beat market consensuses.

Other major losers included cybermall operator Rakuten and technology investor SoftBank Group.

In index futures trading on the Osaka Exchange, the key September contract on the Nikkei average rose 30 points to end at 21,700.