TOKYO: Japan’s Nikkei share average rose for a third straight session on Monday, extending its recovery from a six-week low marked last week, as a sharp decline in the yen boosted exporters while a drop in COVID-19 infections added to economic reopening hopes.

The Nikkei closed 1.60% higher at 28,498.20, gaining more than 1,000 points from Wednesday’s six-week low, while the broader Topix rose 1.77% to 1,996.58, marking its second straight winning session.

New cases of coronavirus infections in Japan fell to 553 on Sunday, the lowest in almost a year, according to public broadcaster NHK. At the height of Japan’s fifth wave in late August, the number was close to 26,000.

“The rapid drop in coronavirus infections nationwide has taken away one reason for investors to be cautious, and they are buying back shares,” said a market participant at a domestic securities firm.

Air transport was among the best performing Topix sectors, rising 3.59%. ANA Holdings rose 3.7% and Japan Airlines added 3.5%.

Meanwhile, the yen slid as far as 112.75 per dollar for the first time since December 2018. A weaker currency increases the value of goods sold overseas when profits are repatriated.

Toyota Motor rose 3.3%, while Mitsubishi Motors rallied 5.9% and Nissan Motor gained 5.3%. The transport equipment sector added 3%.

Panasonic Corp advanced 6.7%, while a recovery in Chinese tech shares helped SoftBank Group rise 4.9%.

Sony Group rose 4.4% amid a report that it might build a new chip plant with TSMC in Japan.

Yaskawa Electric Corp slid 1.9%, despite an upward revision to its profit outlook on Friday. The company is among the first to report results every season, and is widely viewed as a bellwether.

“On the surface the revision looks good, but it seems the market was hoping for a bit higher number,” said a market participant with a separate domestic securities firm.

Business-support company Sansan surged 14.4% after announcing a stock split along with earnings results. – Reuters

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