Japan’s benchmark Nikkei average ended moderately higher Thursday while market activities remained slow ahead of key events abroad.
The 225-issue Nikkei average of the Tokyo Stock Exchange advanced 97.76 points, or 0.34%, to close at 28,958.56, snapping its two-day losing streak. On Wednesday, it gave up 102.76 points.
The Topix index of all first section issues finished down 0.41 point, or 0.02%, at 1,956.73, following a 5.51-point drop the previous day.
Falls in all three major U.S. stock indexes, including the Dow Jones Industrial Average, on Wednesday led Tokyo stocks to open lower.
But buying, including of issues backed by incentives, soon took the upper hand to push the key price gauges onto the plus side, thanks to U.S. stock index futures’ advance in off-hours trading.
The Nikkei average was particularly supported by rises in heavily weighted semiconductor-related stocks which suffered drops in recent sessions.
Amid a lack of fresh market-moving factors, however, the Nikkei fluctuated in a narrow range in positive territory for the rest of the day, and the Topix index fell back into negative terrain.
The market was generally in a wait-and-see mood ahead of the release of the U.S. consumer price index for May and the announcement of the European Central Bank’s monetary policy decision, both later in the day, brokers said.
“Market players were sitting on the fences ahead of the release of the U.S. CPI,” said Masahiro Ichikawa, chief market strategist at Sumitomo Mitsui DS Asset Management Co.
“Amid the wait-and-see mood, investors moved to buy individual issues with incentives,” he added.
“Profit-taking hit airlines and other stocks that have recently attracted buying on the back of hopes that (progress in) vaccinations will help normalize economic activities,” said Maki Sawada, strategist at Nomura Securities Co.
Banks fell in response to a drop in U.S. long-term interest rates Wednesday, which came as a slower-than-expected rise in China’s consumer price index for May, released on the day, eased concerns over global inflation, Sawada said.
On the TSE first section, decliners outnumbered gainers 1,066 to 991 while 136 issues were unchanged. Volume rose to 1.028 billion shares from Wednesday’s 994 million shares.
Drugmaker Shionogi advanced 3.40% as investors took heart from a media report that the company plans to prepare by year-end a system to produce COVID-19 vaccine doses for up to 30 million people.
Terumo rose 2.99% following a newspaper report that the medical equipment-maker is developing a system to automatically administer insulin to diabetics without using a needle.
Semiconductor-linked Tokyo Electron and industrial robot producer Fanuc, both heavyweight components of the Nikkei, enjoyed gains.
Other major winners included daily goods producer Kao and shipping firms Nippon Yusen and Mitsui O.S.K. Lines.
On the other hand, drugmaker Eisai tumbled 7.02% after going limit-up for two days in a row.
Airlines JAL and ANA saw modest drops.
Among other losers were banking groups, including Resona Holdings and Mizuho Financial.
In index futures trading on the Osaka Exchange, the key September contract on the Nikkei average rose 130 points to end at 28,920.
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