TOKYO, May 8 (Xinhua) -- Japan's Nikkei stock index rebounded from its selloff yesterday, gaining 0.93 percent Thursday as the market mood was lifted by the U.S. Federal Reserve's optimistic remarks about the U.S. economy and healthy trade data from China also brightened sentiment.
Traders here said that the market mood perked up following U.S. Federal Reserve chair Janet Yellen's comments in front of the U.S. congress, suggesting the world's largest economy is on a recovery track.
Yellen said the U.S. economy is on the right path but the Fed still stood poised to take action should it need to. The Fed chief also conceded overseas issues such as the Ukraine situation were taking a toll and the U.S.job situation was still precarious and as such said the central bank was committed to supporting its economy.
"A high degree of monetary accommodation remains warranted," Yellen told congress.
The Fed last week said it would further taper its bond-buying by a further 10 billion U.S. dollars and in doing so reducing its monthly bond purchases to 45 U.S. dollars from a peak of purchases totaling 85 billion dollars.
"Japanese stocks are rising mainly because they dropped a lot yesterday. Yellen hasn't changed her stance. She is dovish and continues to watch economic reports closely," said Hitoshi Asaoka, a senior strategist at Mizuho Trust & Banking Co.
Brokers here also said that buying on Thursday was supported by positive trade data from China, which helped to negate concerns about growth prospects in the world's second-largest economy.
Data released from China's General Administration of Customs said that exports rose 0.9 percent in April, from a year earlier, after logging declines of 6.6 percent in March and losses of 18.1 percent in February.
Additionally, imports also gained traction in the recording period, expanding 0.8 percent from a year earlier, following an 11. 3 percent retreat in March. The trade surplus doubled March's figure of a 7.7 billion U.S. dollars surplus, to total 18.5 billion dollars, the data showed, with all figures coming in higher than median economists'expectations.
Concerns about a slowdown in growth in the Chinese economy have been eased as the export data was expected to show minus growth, but came out positive, and this largely contributed to the market' s rebound Thursday, said Yutaka Miura, a senior technical analyst at Mizuho Securities Co.
But other analysts noted that trade was still relatively thin as individual investors are reluctant to chase issues aggressively, particularly when the U.S. dollar slides against the yen.
"Part of the selling we've seen lately may be seasonal in nature, but investors -- especially individuals -- are really put off by the sharp falls, which gives them cold feet when considering getting back into the market," said Yoshihiro Okumura, general manager of Chibagin Asset Management.
"Valuations are cheap, but other factors such as the dollar's weakness are enough to dissuade aggressiveness."
The Nikkei Stock Average gained 130.33 points from Wednesday to close at 14,163.78, while the broader Topix index added 8.00 points, or 0.69 percent, to finish at 1,160.01.
Trading houses found favor with Mitsui jumping 3.6 percent to 1, 516 yen, after raising its dividend ratio to 30 percent from 25 percent last year. The move countered the firm's announcement that it expects its profit to drop in the year to March 31 by around 10 percent owing to falling resource prices.
Mitsubishi Corp. was another notable advancer, leaping 6.5 percent to 1,938 yen, after the firm announced a share buyback plan of up to 40 million shares, totaling around 2.4 percent of its outstanding stock.
Japan's major shipping lines were also solid performers Thursday, with Nippon Yusen K.K. rising 2.5 percent to 289 yen, while smaller rival Mitsui O.S.K. Lines Ltd. added 2.6 percent to close the day at 350 yen.
But heavily weighted mobile communications service provider Softbank continued its retreat, slipping 1.6 percent to 7,299 yen, despite the firm announcing its group net profit for fiscal 2013 was up 42 percent to a record 527 billion yen.
Games console maker Nintendo Co. also came under selling pressure, losing 0.7 percent to 10,595 yen, following the firm announcing losses of 33.4 billion yen in the first quarter of this year, above median analysts' expectations for losses of less than 30 billion yen.
Trading volume on Thursday dropped to 1.78 billion shares on the Tokyo Exchange's First Section, down from Wednesday's volume of 2.10 billion shares, with advancing issues beating declining ones by 1,103 to 559.