Eriko Amaha / Reuters
Tokyo: The Nikkei average rose 0.64% to close above 17,000 for the first time in a week on Wednesday, 8 August, as Federal Reserve comments eased concerns about a slowing US economy, lifting Canon Inc. and other exporters.
Mobile phone carriers such as KDDI Corp. surged on the latest subscriber number data, while computer security software firm Trend Micro Inc. extended gains on profit prospects.
“The US Fed remarks indicated that the subprime problem is a financial matter and does not change the fundamental economic situation,” said Takahiko Murai, general manager of equities at Nozomi Securities.
Still, Murai said that with investors wary of credit risks, the market is unlikely to aim higher.
“Investors are focusing on short-term gains, selling those which post a good performance and buying beaten shares,” he said, adding that this was why bank shares were higher.
The Nikkei rose 107.51 points to 17,029.28, the highest close since 31 July. The benchmark is now off nearly 7% from this year’s peak marked in February. The broader TOPIX index added 0.53% to 1,669.04.
The Japanese market has been volatile on credit concern stemming from the U.S. subprime mortgage problems, but some market participants said attention would be focused on domestic matters such as a possible rate hike by the Bank of Japan at its policy meet ending on 23 August.
Kazuya Nakamura, deputy general manager at Norinchukin Zenkyoren Asset Management, said a Japanese interest rate hike could be a risk for the stock market.
“I don’t think many people think the economy is strong enough for the BOJ to hike interest rates, and if the BOJ pushes ahead, that could create turmoil,” he said.
Trade was active, with 2.5 billion shares changing hands on the Tokyo exchange’s first section, above a daily average volume of 2.1 billion shares in July. Declining shares beat advancers by 964 to 672.