Tokyo: Japanese share prices closed up 1.81% on Friday, 21 March, lifted by a strong rebound on Wall Street overnight and a more stable yen, which eased jitters about export earnings, dealers said.
They said investors returning to work after Thursday’s public holiday continued to look for bargains following recent steep falls.
The benchmark Nikkei-225 index gained 222.13 points to end at 12,482.57. The broader Topix index rose 23.74 points or 1.98% to 1,220.04.
Gainers outnumbered decliners 1,449 to 220, with 54 issues unchanged.
Trading was thin because of the absence of foreign investors, with many overseas markets closed for public holidays. Volume dropped to 1.82 billion shares from 2.13 billion Wednesday.
Stocks opened higher, tracking Wall Street, where sentiment was boosted by a better than expected manufacturing activity index for the Philadelphia area and by further falls in the price of oil, gold and other commodities.
“The recent declines on the commodity market seem to suggest that investors are beginning to ease their risk-averse stance, and may shift some funds back to the stock market,” said Societe Generale Asset Management economist Akio Yoshino.
Jitters about the recent strength of the yen eased as the dollar held steady at 99.62 yen, well above Monday’s 12-year low of 95.75 yen.
There are hopes the market may recover further toward the end of the month amid window-dressing by Japanese companies as they close their fiscal year.
“I expect the local market to remain on a rebound trend toward the end of March as the supply-demand situation will improve because of the expected window-dressing, and the Nikkei may rebound to around the 13,000 level,” said Fumiyuki Nakanishi, chief strategist at SMBC Friend Securities.
Financial stocks were firmer after credit market worries in the US eased to an extent.
Non-life insurance issues were among the gainers, with Millea rising 160 yen or 4.3% to 3,880, Sompo Japan climbing 55 yen or 5.8% to 956 and Aioi Insurance up 23 yen or 4.2% at 575.
Big banks gained. Mizuho Financial rose 18,000 yen or 4.7% to 404,000, Mitsubishi UFJ Financial climbed 39 yen or 4.6% to 892 yen and Sumitomo Mitsui Financial was up 40,000 yen or 5.9% at 718,000 yen.