• Jiji


Tokyo stocks rose for the fourth consecutive session Wednesday, reflecting expectations for a restart in economic activities in Japan and easing concerns over an escalation in U.S.-China trade tensions.

The 225-issue Nikkei average climbed 161.70 points, or 0.79 percent, to end at 20,595.15. On Tuesday, the key index surged 299.72 points.

The Topix index of all Tokyo Stock Exchange first-section issues closed up 8.64 points, or 0.58 percent, at 1,494.69, after gaining 26.76 points the previous day.

Aided by a slight weakening in the yen against the dollar and a rise in the Dow Jones Industrial Average futures in off-hours trading, the market opened higher and gained further ground in the morning.

Hopes for a restarting of economic activities were refueled by news reports that the government may lift its state of emergency over the coronavirus epidemic in three prefectures in the Kansai region, brokers said.

Fears over strife between the United States and China receded after White House economic adviser Larry Kudlow said Tuesday that the so-called phase-one trade deal between the two nations is not under threat, brokers said.

Continuously supported by the strength in Dow futures, both indexes remained way above Tuesday’s closing levels in the afternoon.

Despite the release of a report Tuesday by a U.S. medical news website questioning data from early trials of an experimental coronavirus vaccine by U.S. biopharmaceutical company Moderna Inc., Tomoaki Fujii, head of the investment research division at Akatsuki Securities Inc., said that expectations for an early development of a vaccine for COVID-19 still supported the Tokyo market.

“The (report) was not enough to completely wipe out such hopes,” he added.

Meanwhile, an official at a major securities firm said that the Tokyo market will not likely see wild swings this week, as many investors are waiting for a meeting of the National People’s Congress in China, which will begin Friday.

Rising issues far outnumbered falling ones 1,395 to 682 in the first section, while 93 issues were unchanged. Volume decreased to 1.21 billion shares from Tuesday’s 1.59 billion shares.

Precision equipment-maker Shimadzu climbed 2.04 percent, thanks to a news report on Wednesday that the firm has beefed up production of X-ray equipment amid the spread of the coronavirus.

Sony Financial spurted 7.59 percent after Sony announced on Tuesday that it will take full control of the insurer.

Chipmaking gear manufacturer Tokyo Electron and clothing store chain Fast Retailing also went up.

On the other hand, Fujifilm Holdings dropped 2.57 percent following news reports raising doubts over the efficacy of its influenza drug Avigan on coronavirus patients in clinical trials. The drug was developed by a Fujifilm subsidiary.

In index futures trading on the Osaka Exchange, the key June contract on the Nikkei average rose 20 points to end at 20,550.

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