Tokyo: Japan’s Nikkei stock average edged up 0.3% on Tuesday, 1 July, with trading house Mitsubishi Corp and other energy-linked shares gaining after oil prices hit a new record high.
The market initially got a boost from the Bank of Japan’s tankan survey that showed business sentiment had worsened less than expected in the past three months.
But the Nikkei flirted with negative territory early afternoon as investors had a second look at the data, which confirmed a weak outlook for the economy, market players said.
“It (the tankan) didn’t provide any positive news, though some figures might have been better than expected. It’s rather making investors reaffirm the softness of the economic outlook,” said Akihito Yamanoi, general manager of the equity investment department at AIG Global Investment Corp (Japan).
The benchmark Nikkei average gained 43.13 points to 13,524.51, while the broader Topix added 0.5% to 1,326.75.
On Monday, the Nikkei average ended its worst first half since 1995, but it gained about 8% in the April-June quarter, recovering about half of what it lost since a year-low hit in mid-March.
Energy-related shares rose after oil prices hit an all-time high of over $143 a barrel, boosting the oil and coal subindex IPETE.by 2.4 percent.
Nippon Oil Japan’s largest oil distributor, climbed 2.8% to 733 yen and oil explorer Inpex Holdings added 1.5% to 1.36 million yen.
Trading houses gained as Japan’s top trading firms invest heavily in overseas oil fields and mines.
Mitsubishi jumped 4% to 3,640 yen and Mitsui & Co Ltd gained 3.8% to 2,435 yen.
Banks slid after renewed credit worries hit their US peers following analyst reports predicting that Merrill Lynch will be forced to raise equity in the third quarter.
Mitsubishi UFJ Financial Group Japan’s top lender, shed 1 percent to 932 yen, while No. 2 Mizuho Financial Group fell 1 percent to 491,000 yen. Sumitomo Mitsui Financial Group the third-biggest bank, declined 1.5 percent to 787,000 yen. (Reporting by Aiko Hayashi; Editing by Chris Gallagher) REUTERS