Japan’s Topix Advances Before U.S. Jobs Report; Kewpie Surges

Japanese stocks rose, with the Topix index posting a weekly gain, as investors awaited a report on U.S. payrolls. Volume was thin as many overseas markets are closed for holidays.

Mayonnaise-maker Kewpie Corp. posted its biggest gain in 25 years after quarterly profit surged. Daiwa Securities Group Inc. rose after increasing its dividend payout ratio. Seven & I Holdings Co., which operates Japan’s largest convenience-store chain, slid 0.9 percent after forecasting net income that missed estimates.

The Topix added 0.6 percent to 1,564.16 at the close of trading in Tokyo after falling as much as 0.1 percent, with volume 23 percent lower than the 30-day average. The measure capped a 0.7 percent increase this week. The Nikkei 225 Stock Average today climbed 0.6 percent to 19,435.08. The yen held at 119.68 per dollar, trading little changed for a second day.

“Many investors are opting to wait on the sidelines ahead of the U.S. jobs report,” said Tomomi Yamashita, who helps oversee the equivalent of $6.3 billion at Shinkin Asset Management Co. in Tokyo. “The market is light, and without much volatility, investors are going to shy away from trading intensely. A lot of the moves are coming from stocks that have specific news tied to them.”

Markets in the U.S., Europe and most of Asia except Japan and China are shut today for holidays.

Investors are scrutinizing U.S. labor-market reports as the Federal Reserve considers raising interest rates. Data Thursday showed jobless claims unexpectedly fell, a day after a private payrolls report missed estimates. U.S. employers probably hired fewer workers in March, economists said before Friday’s report.

‘Few Reasons’

“There are few domestic reasons for stocks to move,” said Juichi Wako, a senior strategist at Nomura Holdings Inc. in Tokyo. “We’re likely to be in wait-and-see mode today” before the jobs data and given the holidays.

Kewpie surged 13 percent, its biggest gain since April 1990, as it closed at a record. First-quarter profit more than doubled to 5.1 billion yen ($42.6 million), the company said.

Daiwa Securities, Japan’s second-biggest brokerage, climbed 1.3 percent. The stock earlier gained as much as 3.8 percent after saying it will raise the dividend ratio to 40 percent from 30 percent, and target return on equity of at least 10 percent.

Sony Corp. was the biggest boost to the Topix, adding 3.4 percent after a Nikkei newspaper report its operating profit will reach about 300 billion yen this fiscal year. The electronics maker is heading for its highest close in five years.

DeNA Co. gained 9.3 percent to its highest close since May 2013. Mitsubishi UFJ Morgan Stanley boosted its rating on the stock to overweight from neutral while also more than doubling its share-price target.

Seven & I slid 0.9 percent. The company forecast net income of 193 billion yen for the current fiscal year, missing analyst estimates for 202.3 billion yen.

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