markets

Japanese Shares Climb as They Cap Worst Quarter Since June 2016

Updated on
Photographer: Noriko Hayashi/Bloomberg

Japanese shares rose following positive U.S. jobs data. The benchmark Topix index still capped its worst quarter since June 2016, whipsawed by a spike in volatility and global trade concerns.

The Topix index advanced, with electronics makers and telecommunications firms providing the biggest support. Trading volume on the measure was 18 percent below its 30-day average, with many markets in the region closed for the Easter holidays. Turnover hit the lowest for this year. The benchmark gauge closed the quarter with a 5.6 percent drop.

The S&P 500 Index, which capped its worst quarter since September 2015, rose on Thursday with help from energy stocks, chipmakers and a recovery in Amazon.com Inc. U.S. filings for unemployment benefits unexpectedly fell last week to the lowest level since January 1973, further evidence that the labor market remains tight, data showed.

“A confirmation from the jobless claims figures that the real economy is doing well is a bright spot for Japanese equities,” said Hideyuki Ishiguro, a senior strategist at Daiwa Securities Co. in Tokyo. “Foreign investors turned net buyers in the futures market last week,” for the first time in a while, helping the supply and demand conditions improve as well, he added.

Foreign investors offloaded nearly $50 billion of futures on the Topix and Nikkei 225 this year through to Mar. 9, as a volatility spike shook markets and the Trump administration touted protectionist policies. At home, a cronyism scandal surrounding Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has been casting doubt on his ability to win a ruling party leadership election in September.

Summary

  • Topix +0.7% to 1,716.30 at close in Tokyo
  • Nikkei 225 +1.4% at 21,454.30
  • Yen +0.2% at 106.18 per dollar
  • Electronics makers: Tokyo Electron +4.2%, Fanuc +1.5%, Nidec +1.8%
  • Telecommunications firms: SoftBank Group +1.8%, NTT Docomo +1%
  • Konami +5.1%; upgraded to outperform from neutral at Credit Suisse
  • Hitachi Chemical +3.5%; raised to buy from underperform at BofA Merrill Lynch
  • Capcom -5.1%; downgraded to underperform from neutral at Credit Suisse
  • Japan Display -1.5% after firm says its board will discuss a plan to raise more than 50b yen, including 30b yen in a new share sale

— With assistance by Anna Kitanaka

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