Aiko Hayashi / Reuters
Tokyo: Japan’s Nikkei stock average rose 0.4% as investors flocked to stocks such as car battery maker GS Yuasa Corp. The early morning trade seemed to lack major pillars for gains. Market participants said buying of stocks futures helped buoy the overall market.
“Today’s peculiar rise seems to be due to derivative-related buying,” said Norihiro Fujito, general manager of the investment research and information division at Mitsubishi UFJ Securities.
“But we have to understand the relatively solid gains stand on very soft ground. They won’t keep buying forever.”
The benchmark Nikkei added 57.40 points to end the morning session at 14,405.77.
The broader Topix gained 0.1% to 1,403.99.
Among stocks on the move, NEC Electronics surged 10.5% after Goldman Sachs raised its rating to “buy” from “neutral”, citing the possibility of the firm’s earnings beating market forecasts on growth of advanced microchips used in TV sets and mobile handsets.
The dollar stood at 107.95 yen, little changed from late US trading yesterday, having retreated from a four-month high of 108.59 yen hit on trading platform EBS on Monday.
US stocks fell on 17 June after a major brokerage warned that US banks would have to raise as much as $65 billion in capital to shore up balance sheets weakened by the mortgage crisis. That had little impact on Japanese bank shares.
Shinji Igarashi, equity manager of the sales department at Chuo Securities, said that given a lack of immediate trading factors, investors were looking to Morgan Stanley’s quarterly results on Wednesday and the Federal Reserve’s policy meeting next week.
Battery shares up
Japanese car battery makers shot up as investors expected growing worries over global warming and persistently high oil prices to boost demand for electric cars.
GS Yuasa, Japan’s largest car battery maker, climbed 5.9% to 560 yen, while Furukawa Battery surged 12% to 1,343 yen.
Some exporters fell on the slightly firmer yen. Canon Inc fell 0.5% to 5,510 yen and Honda Motor Co Ltd shed 0.3% to 3,770 yen.
A stronger yen curbs exporters overseas’ profits when they are brought back home.
Shares of Skymark Airlines Inc rose 3% to 198 yen after the company’s president told Reuters that its services would return to normal by late August.
A shortage of pilots forced Skymark to cancel hundreds of flights, leading the airline to cut its annual profit forecast last week.
Trade was light on the Tokyo exchange’s first section, with 847 million shares changing hands compared with last week’s morning average of 1.2 billion.
Advancing stocks outpaced decliners by 904 to 644.