• Jiji


The benchmark Nikkei stock average turned higher on Wednesday, backed by continuing hopes for an economic recovery.

The Nikkei average of 225 selected issues listed on the first section of the Tokyo Stock Exchange rose 33.92 points, or 0.15 percent, to end at 23,124.95. On Tuesday, the key market gauge fell 87.07 points.

But the TOPIX index of all TSE first-section issues closed down 3.72 points, or 0.23 percent, at 1,624.71, after losing 2.29 points the previous day.

The Nikkei fell about 190 points soon after the opening bell, as selling to lock in profits increased following overnight falls in European and U.S. equities.

The yen’s strengthening against the dollar also hit investor sentiment.

After the initial selling ran its course, however, the Nikkei trimmed early losses, supported by a rise in U.S. stock index futures in off-hours trading, brokers said.

“Sentiment remained bullish, after the U.S. (tech-heavy) Nasdaq composite index exceeded 10,000 for the first time on an intraday basis on Tuesday,” said Hirohumi Yamamoto, strategist at Toyo Securities Co.

Yamamoto added that short covering apparently continued to support the market.

Some investors refrained from active trading to see the outcome of the U.S. Federal Reserve’s two-day policy-setting meeting through Wednesday and comments by Fed Chairman Jerome Powell after the meeting, brokers said.

Falling issues outnumbered rising ones 1,142 to 943 in the TSE’s first section, while 84 issues were unchanged.

Volume decreased to 1.25 billion shares from Tuesday’s 1.52 billion shares.

Chipmaking gear manufacturer Tokyo Electron, test device maker Advantest and other issues in the semiconductor sector attracted purchases after their U.S. peers fared well overnight.

Takara Bio shot up after announcing that a U.S. unit has developed a method to conduct up to 5,000 polymerase chain reaction, or PCR, tests for detecting the novel coronavirus in about two hours.

Among other winners were job information service firm Recruit Holdings and clothing store chain Fast Retailing.

By contrast, mega-bank group Mitsubishi UFJ, insurer Tokio Marine and other financials met with selling, as U.S. long interest rates were weighed by speculation that the Fed will adopt a yield curve control policy at the policy-setting meeting.

Major constructions firms fell after Morgan Stanley MUFG Securities Co revised down its investment rating for the construction sector. Major losers included Taisei and Obayashi.

Also on the negative side were industrial robot producer Fanuc and mobile phone carrier KDDI.

In index futures trading on the Osaka Exchange, the key June contract on the Nikkei average fell 90 points to end at 23,020.

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