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Nikkei pushes closer to one-year high, on track for weekly gain
January 27, 2017 / 3:30 AM / in 10 months

Nikkei pushes closer to one-year high, on track for weekly gain

* Market gets tailwind from dollar’s overnight 1.1 gain vs yen

* Mining, oil shares gain, as Wall Street strength lifts sentiment

TOKYO, Jan 27 (Reuters) - Japan’s Nikkei share average edged higher on Friday and looked set for a solid weekly gain as the weaker yen helped push it closer to a one-year high.

The Nikkei was up 0.4 percent at 19,474.15 points by midday, and was poised to gain 1.8 percent for the week.

It moved closer to the Jan. 5 high of 19,615.40, a break of which would take it to its highest since December 2015.

Sentiment was also bolstered by overnight gains on Wall Street, where the Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 0.2 percent and remained above the 20,000 peak scaled for the first time on Wednesday.

The dollar gained 1.1 percent against the yen overnight, on optimism over the U.S. economic outlook and corporate earnings despite concerns about U.S. President Donald Trump’s protectionist policies. It last bought 114.93 yen, up 0.4 percent on the day.

Japanese markets do not observe the Lunar New Year holiday celebrated in much of Asia.

“With Hong Kong and the region beginning their Chinese New Year holidays today, with half trading days and a holiday feel, there are two things that can happen during that period,” said Stefan Worrall, director of Japan equity sales at Credit Suisse in Tokyo.

Trading “can become quite dull,” he said, or else with other markets unable to react to whatever unfolds, “Japan can have an amplified reaction by nature of it being played as a proxy market while the rest of the region is on holiday.”

There was little market reaction to Japanese inflation data released earlier in the day.

Core consumer prices continued to fall in December, though at the slowest annual pace in nearly a year, suggesting that inflation should pick up in coming months on a rebound in oil costs and rising import costs from a weak yen.

“Stocks show stability today, and the market ignores the Japanese government’s announcement of a drop in the CPI since their model basket of goods is flawed and does not take into account rises in food or energy prices that consumers are suffering,” said Hiroki Allen, chief representative of Superfund Japan in Tokyo.

Commodities shares gained, with The Tokyo Stock Exchange’s mining subindex up 4.5 percent and the oil and coal subindex adding 2.2 percent.

Industrial robot maker Fanuc Corp pared losses but slipped 0.1 percent, after its upwardly revised full-year operating profit forecast still fell short of forecast by Thomson Reuters analysts

Condiment maker Kagome Co rose 3.6 percent after it raised its operating profit forecast for the year which ended in December 2016.

The broader Topix was up 0.4 percent at 1,551.09, and the JPX-Nikkei Index 400 was 0.5 percent higher at 13,924.34. (Reporting by Tokyo markets team; Editing by Kim Coghill)

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