• Kyodo, JIJI


The Nikkei stock index ended at a nearly six-month high on Thursday, approaching its prepandemic levels amid growing hopes for the development of a vaccine against the novel coronavirus.

The 225-issue Nikkei stock average ended up 405.65 points, or 1.78 percent, from Wednesday at 23,249.61, its highest closing level since Feb. 21. The broader Topix index of all first section issues on the Tokyo Stock Exchange finished 18.62 points, or 1.16 percent, higher at 1,624.15.

Gainers were led by precision instrument, electric appliance and pharmaceutical issues.

The Tokyo market got off to a strong start thanks to climbs in all three major U.S. stock price gauges on Wednesday.

Vaccine hopes heightened among investors in both the U.S. and Tokyo markets, following U.S. President Donald Trump’s announcement that his government will purchase 100 million doses of a potential coronavirus vaccine from Moderna Inc.

Also buoyed by the popularity of high-tech issues, especially those related to the semiconductor sector, both the Nikkei and Topix indexes fluctuated far above Wednesday’s closing levels in the afternoon.

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