Business / Financial Markets

Nikkei hits three-month high above 22,000

JIJI

The benchmark Nikkei stock average hit a three-month high above 22,000 in Tokyo trading on Monday, backed by hopes for an economic recovery after months of coronavirus-related restrictions.

The 225-issue Nikkei average listed on the first section of the Tokyo Stock Exchange rose 184.50 points, or 0.84 percent, to 22,062.39, its first finish above 22,000 since Feb. 26. On Friday, the index fell 38.42 points.

The Topix index of all TSE first section issues closed up 5.08 points, or 0.32 percent, at 1,568.75, after losing 13.67 points the previous trading day.

Hopes for an economic recovery continued as the Tokyo Metropolitan Government lifted its business closure requests for a wide range of services on Monday, brokers said.

Stock prices were also buoyed by a rise in Hong Kong and other Asian markets and the yen's weakening against the dollar, they said.

"Expectations are spread that the economy and corporate earnings have passed their worst" amid easing of coronavirus economic restrictions, a brokerage house official said.

"Lagging cyclical issues such as semiconductor-related names attracted purchases after Friday's rise in the (tech-heavy) Nasdaq composite index," said Masayuki Otani, chief market analyst at Securities Japan Inc.

A TSE report showing stepped-up buying by foreign investors also provided a sense of relief to the market, he said.

Remarks by U.S. President Donald Trump on Friday about mounting tensions with China had little negative impact on the market as he did not mention any sanction plans against Beijing, an official of a bank-affiliated securities firm said.

Falling issues outnumbered rising ones 1,094 to 998 in the TSE's first section, while 78 issues were unchanged.

Volume decreased to 1.201 billion shares from Friday's 2.383 billion shares.

Gainers in the semiconductor sector included chipmaking gear manufacturer Tokyo Electron and test device maker Advantest Corp.

Sony Corp., Hitachi and other export-oriented issues attracted purchases thanks to a weaker yen.

Among other winners were clothing store chain Fast Retailing Co. and technology investor SoftBank Group Corp.

On the other hand, Fuji Electric Co. dropped as its operating profit fell short of market expectations in the year ended last March.

Also on the negative side were Takeda Pharmaceutical Co. and Bridgestone Corp.

In index futures trading on the Osaka Exchange, the key June contract on the Nikkei average rose 310 points to end at 22,120.

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