Japan’s Nikkei Jumps 2% on Strong Earnings, Dovish Fed Bets

Yomiuri Shimbun file photo
Tokyo Stock Exchange

TOKYO (Reuters) – Japan’s Nikkei share average jumped 2% on Wednesday, topping the 33,000 psychological level for the first time in nearly two months, amid strong corporate earnings and bets for a more dovish U.S. Federal Reserve.

The Nikkei .N225 rallied 1.97% to 33,341.56 by the midday break, with 147 of its 225 components advancing versus 76 that fell, with two flat.

The broader Topix .TOPX added 0.98%, with an index of growth shares .TOPXG climbing 1.56% to handily outpace a 0.42% gain for value stocks .TOPXV.

Overnight, Wall Street’s big three indexes all posted robust gains, led by the tech-heavy Nasdaq’s .IXIC 2.13% rally, after softer U.S. consumer inflation data fueled speculation that the Fed’s tightening cycle had peaked. The Philadelphia SE semiconductor index .SOX surged 3.62%.

For the Nikkei, “the ceiling that had been in place around the upper 32,000-level completely gave way after the U.S. CPI, which I think is a very big development for the market,” said Kazuo Kamitani, an equity strategist at Nomura Securities.

At the same time, “buying is concentrated around companies that posted favorable earnings,” he added.

But with the earnings season now over in both Japan and the U.S., the market’s focus will be squarely on the outlook for monetary policy, Kamitani said.

Refiner Idemitsu Kosan 5019.T was far and away the Nikkei’s top percentage gainer, surging about 18% after raising its profit forecast and announcing a share split.

That helped make oil and coal producers .IPETE.T the best performer among the Tokyo Stock Exchange’s 33 industry groups, with a 5.4% advance.

Precision machinery makers .IPRCS.T were next, climbing 3.97% on a boost from medical machinery maker Terumo 4543.T on the back of strong financial results.

Electric machinery .IELEC.T, which includes a lot of chip-related shares, was no. 3, rising 2.69%. Chip-testing equipment maker Advantest 6857.T jumped 6.3% and chip-making machinery manufacturer Tokyo Electron 8035.T rose 3.44%.

Other notable winners included startup investor SoftBank Group 9984.T and Sony 6758.T, which rose 4.75% and 4.57% respectively. Uniqlo-owner Fast Retailing 9983.T added 2.75%, which was enough to make it the Nikkei’s biggest points gainer due to its outsized weighting.