Tokyo: The Nikkei share average rose 0.4% in holiday-thinned trade on Thursday, with Toyota Motor Corp and other battered stocks rebounding after the US Dow snapped a five-day losing streak.
But Isuzu Motors Ltd fell nearly 2% after a newspaper reported the Japanese truck maker plans to implement temporary pay cuts for all of its 8,000 full-time workers in Japan in response to a steep sales decline. The automaker denied the report.
“This is simply a rebound, and even small orders can exaggerate market moves as the number of participants is so small,” said Tsuyoshi Segawa, an equity strategist at Shinko Securities.
“The yen may be a bit softer against the US dollar, but the stock market is paying little attention to the currency market now as it also lacks enough participants. Both markets are in the holiday mood.”
The benchmark Nikkei edged up 36.03 points to 8,553.13, after losing 2.4% the previous day.
The broader Topix gained 0.6% to 832.22.
US trading ended at 1pm on Wednesday for Christmas Eve, with the Dow Jones industrial average closing up 0.6%.
US markets will be closed on Thursday for Christmas, and they reopen on Friday.
Trade was thin on the Tokyo exchange’s first section, with 462 million shares changing hands, compared with last week’s morning average of 898 million.
Advancing stocks outpaced declining ones, 918 to 626.
Analysts say trade will likely quiet down further towards the year-end due to the suspension of some large stocks in connection with the transition to a paperless share system in Japan to be implemented on 5 January.
Trade in 14 stocks listed on the Tokyo Stock Exchange including NTT and Mizuho Financial Group is suspended from 25 December to 30 December and will resume on 5 January, according to the bourse.
Toyota gained 0.9% to 2,805yen. The stock slid 4% the previous day after the world’s biggest automaker forecast its first-ever annual operating loss.
Rival Honda Motor Co gained 1.4% to 1,822yen and Nissan Motor Co rose 1.4% to 300yen.
But Isuzu shed 1.8% to 107yen.
“The auto sector will probably have some technical rebounds here and there like on Thursday, but it will remain in the toughest position of all for a while,” said Soichiro Monji, chief strategist at Daiwa SB Investments.
Other recent losers gained ground, with Japan’s top lender Mitsubishi UFJ Financial Group rising 1.3% to 540yen. Sony Corp added 0.9% to 1,814yen.
Besides Mizuho, banking shares subject to the trade suspension include industry heavyweights Sumitomo Mitsui Financial Group and Resona Holdings Inc.
Properst Co tumbled 13.4% to 7,450yen, extending losses into a sixth straight day. The real estate developer has lost about 45% of its market value since 19 December when it announced plans to cut 40 to 50% of its workforce to reduce costs.