• Jiji


The 225-issue Nikkei average rose further Friday to close at its highest level since the collapse of Japan’s bubble economy in the early 1990s, thanks to an overnight Wall Street surge and robust earnings reported by Japanese companies.

The Nikkei climbed 219.95 points, or 0.91%, to close at 24,325.23, a level not seen since Nov. 13, 1991. On Thursday, the key index gained 410.05 points.

The Topix index of all first-section issues on the Tokyo Stock Exchange finished up 8.55 points, or 0.52%, at 1,658.49, after rising 22.69 points the previous day.

After opening almost unchanged, the closely watched market indices surged in the morning as investors applauded the fourth day of all three key U.S. market yardsticks, including the Dow Jones industrial average, rising.

The U.S. stock advance came in response to receding fears over a corporate tax hike pushed by U.S. Democrats, with media reports stating that Republicans are expected to retain control of the Senate, brokers said.

The market was also supported by the popularity of issues backed by robust earnings reports such as that of air conditioner-maker Daikin, brokers said.

Although moving far above Thursday’s closing levels, both the Nikkei and Topix fluctuated within a narrow range in the afternoon, due to mounting pressure to lock in profits.

Explaining the market’s strength, brokers additionally pointed to waning concerns over a possible tightening of regulations against U.S. technology titans, another agenda item being advanced by U.S. Democrats.

“The market moved tightly in the afternoon due to a fall in Dow futures and a strengthening of the yen against the dollar,” said Yutaka Miura, senior technical analyst at Mizuho Securities Co.

“Profit-taking gathered steam once the Nikkei approached the 24,500 line,” he added.

Meanwhile, some market sources voiced confusion over the recent surges in stock prices both within and outside of Japan, with an official at an asset management firm saying that the rises “seem strange, given that the outcome of Tuesday’s U.S. presidential election has not yet been finalized.”

Gainers overwhelmed losers 1,367 to 714 in the TSE’s first section, with 98 issues unchanged. Volume decreased to 1.232 billion shares from Thursday’s 1.344 billion shares.

Daikin jumped 5.44%, as market participants reacted positively to the company’s upward revisions to its operating profit and net profit forecasts for the current business year, set to end next March.

Mitsui Chemicals and medical equipment maker Terumo were also popular after they revised up their profit estimates for the year through March 2021.

Drugmaker Eisai extended its rising streak to the fourth consecutive session, thanks to media reports that the U.S. Food and Drug Administration has pointed to the efficacy of a drug developed by the Japanese company and U.S. Pharmaceuticals firm Biogen for the treatment of Alzheimer’s disease.

In addition, game-maker Konami and beverage producer Asahi Group went up.

On the other hand, Mitsui Fudosan fell 4.21%, reflecting investor dismay at the realtor’s lower-than-expected operating profit forecast for the year to March.

Also sold were technology investor SoftBank Group and security firm Secom.

In index futures trading on the Osaka Exchange, the key December contract on the Nikkei average rose 220 points to end at 24,340.

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