Business / Financial Markets | TSE DATA & REPORT

Nikkei hits 16-month closing high

JIJI

Tokyo stocks rose Monday on the back of improved investor sentiment, sending the benchmark Nikkei average to a high for nearly 16 months.

The 225-issue Nikkei average on the first section of the Tokyo Stock Exchange gained 42.25 points, or 0.18 percent, to end at 24,083.51, the highest finish since Oct. 3, 2018. It jumped 108.13 points Friday.

The Topix index of all TSE first section issues closed up 8.72 points, or 0.50 percent, at 1,744.16, after rising 6.72 points the previous trading day.

The Tokyo market got off to a vigorous start, in the wake of all three major U.S. market gauges — the Dow Jones industrial average, the Nasdaq composite index and the S&P 500 —rewriting their all-time closing highs Friday.

Sentiment was brightened by stronger-than-expected U.S. and Chinese economic indicators released Friday, including Chinese industrial production in December and U.S. housing starts in the same month, brokers said.

Profit-taking pressure increased after the early spurt. But popularity of cyclical stocks helped keep the market buoyant throughout the Monday session, they added.

“The day’s trading was thin with few nonresidents taking part” during the three-day weekend in the United States, Chihiro Ota of SMBC Nikko Securities Inc. said.

Besides the U.S. market closure Monday for Martin Luther King Day, the Tokyo market “fell into a lull due to a lack of market-moving events,” Ota added, forecasting that activities will remain lackluster Tuesday.

Masahiro Ichikawa, senior strategist at Sumitomo Mitsui DS Asset Management Co., pointed out that a wait-and-see mood grew ahead of the earnings season in Japan starting next week.

On the TSE’s first section, rising issues far outnumbered falling ones 1,478 to 579, while 103 issues were unchanged. Volume decreased to 821 million shares from Friday’s 1.079 billion shares.

Popular cyclicals included electronic parts maker TDK Corp., industrial robot producer Fanuc Corp. and air conditioner-maker Daikin Industries.

Daiwabo Holdings Co. and Shikibo, both surgical mask manufacturers, were hunted in response to media reports about the spread of fatal pneumonia caused by a new type of coronavirus in China and its outbreak in South Korea.

Toshiba Machine Co. surged 18.94 percent, after the company said high-profile activist investor Yoshiaki Murakami plans to launch a tender offer.

Also on the positive side were Maeda Road Construction Co. and mobile phone carrier KDDI Corp.

On the other hand, Mitsubishi Electric Corp. dropped 1.42 percent amid mounting concern over a possible compromise of secret data in a cyberattack.

Among other losers were clothing store chain Fast Retailing Co. and soy sauce producer Kikkoman Corp.

In index futures trading on the Osaka Exchange, the key March contract on the Nikkei average rose 50 points to 24,080.

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