Tokyo: Japanese shares gained ground on bargain-hunting in the financial sector, but buying sentiment fizzled amid continued uncertainty over oil prices and lingering fears over a slump in the global economy.
The benchmark Nikkei 225 index gained 15.08 points, or 0.12% to close at 13,067.21.
“The market was supported by some bargain-hunting as investors bought back shares in the financial and real estate sectors,” said Kazuhiro Takahashi, an equity strategist at Daiwa Securities SMBC Co. Ltd.
“But overall sentiment was sluggish following a tumble on Wall Street and uncertainty over volatile oil prices,” Takahashi said.
The Dow Jones industrial average dropped more than 2% Wednesday, pressured by fresh worries about the soundness of the US financial sector.
Oil prices also halted a two-day slide to hold near $136 a barrel Thursday in Asia amid lingering concerns over Iran’s nuclear conflict and reports of lower-than-expected US oil stockpiles. News of the end of cease-fire in Nigeria threw more uncertainty into the mix.
Japan’s top automaker, Toyota Motor Corp, rose 1% to 4,980 yen; its rival Honda Motor Co. added 0.8% to 3,640 yen.
Japan’s banking giant Mizuho Financial Group Inc. gained 2.7% to 526,000 yen, and Mitsubishi UFJ Financial Group Inc. also jumped 3.5% to 988 yen.
The Topix index of all Tokyo Stock Exchange First Section issues edged up 5.23 points, or 0.41%, to 1,290.76.