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Nikkei gains for 7th straight day on weak yen, easing geopolitical concerns

English.news.cn   2014-08-19 16:49:15

TOKYO, Aug. 19 (Xinhua) -- The Nikkei stock index rose for a seventh straight day Tuesday, gaining 0.83 percent as the yen's retreat and Wall Street's solid performance overnight galvanized investor sentiment and easing concerns over the situation in Ukraine kept investors from selling.

The benchmark Nikkei 225 index added 127.19 points to close at 15,449.79, while the broader Topix index of all first-section issues gained 0.71 percent, or 9.03 points, to finish at 1,280.29.

Market players on Tuesday said the yen's weakness helped underpin the overall market and lift the market mood amid a lack of other immediate catalysts.

In currency markets, the U.S. dollar fetched 102.61 yen, rising from 102.57 yen logged in New York and 102.32 yen booked in Tokyo earlier Monday. A weaker yen is a boon for exporters who see overseas profit yields augment when repatriated and overall competitiveness enhanced.

But local traders said that while the current geopolitical situations in Ukraine and Iraq among others were still being closely eyed by the market, easing tensions particularly in Ukraine helped calm jitters.

Multinational issues that had caused the delay of a convoy of around 300 trucks that Moscow is delivering to Ukraine with humanitarian aid have been resolved, with Moscow coordinating with the Ukrainian side and the International Committee of the Red Cross.

But it remains to be seen how quickly the convoy will be deployed, following a bus full of refugees being hit by a missile near the city of Luhansk.

"Once geopolitical risks are taken away, investors will return their focus to fundamentals. Japanese stocks are going strong on the back of strong appetite from domestic investors," said Yusuke Kuwayama, a portfolio manager at Tokio Marine & Nichido Fire Insurance Co.

Other analysts said that more cues would be needed to test the market's upper side and some investors were eyeing the U.S. Federal Reserve's meeting later this week for hints about future interest rate moves.

Domestically, the Government Pension Investment Fund's plans to buy more stock is being eyed carefully as are moves by the Finance Ministry and the Bank of Japan following a slew of tepid macroeconomic data.

Some economists have suggested the central bank, in twine with the Finance Ministry will have no choice but to unroll new easing measures and monetary policy if it looks like the government's 2 percent inflation target won't be hit within the government-set timeframe.

"There's still quite a dearth of trading cues to power the broader market, but with a stronger dollar, investors are reflexively less likely to sell," said Hiroyuki Fukunaga, chief executive at Investrust.

Exporter issues found traction, with top automaker Toyota adding 0.16 percent to 5,985 yen and consumer electronics giant Sony gaining 1.94 percent to 1,913 yen.

Heavily weighted Nikkei component Fast Retailing, owner and operator of the Uniqlo chain of high street apparel stores, added 0.47 percent to 32,850.

Local real estate issues comprised the market's best performers Tuesday, with Mitsui Fudosan climbing 2.1 percent to 3,338 yen and Mitsubishi Estate jumping 2.5 percent to 2,460 yen.

Embattled Skymark Airlines, who may get hammered with penalties for canceling a deal with Airbus for its long-haul A380s worth 2.2 billion U.S. dollars, causing the carrier to announce it was slashing routes and raising fares, soared 27.8 percent to 230 yen, after reports budget carrier AirAsia is mulling a bailout plan.

Mobile carrier SoftBank advanced 2 percent to 7,185 yen, following the firm unveiling a new smartphone developed with its U. S.-based Sprint Corp. for sale in both U.S. and Japanese markets.

But Chugai Pharmaceutical Co. closed negative, dropping 2.1 percent to 3,745 yen, having soared 15 percent Monday, on unconfirmed reports that Switzerland's Roche was planning to buy a 40 percent stake in the Japanese drug maker. But Chugai has denied the reports and analysts said a 40 percent premium worth 10 billion U.S. dollars may be too costly for Roche.

Trading volume on Tuesday increased to 1.79 billion shares on the Tokyo Exchange's First Section, up from Monday's volume of 1. 55 billion shares, with advancing issues outnumbering declining ones by 1,172 to 485.

Editor: Yang Yi
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