Nikkei Jumps 2.5% on Strong Earnings, Dovish Fed Bets

Yomiuri Shimbun file photo
Tokyo Stock Exchange

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

The Nikkei finished the day up 2.52% at 33,519.70, with 159 of its 225 components advancing versus 64 that fell, with two flat.

The broader TOPIX added 1.19%, with an index of growth shares climbing 1.94% to handily outpace a 0.47% gain for value stocks.

Overnight, Wall Street’s big three indexes all posted robust gains, led by the tech-heavy Nasdaq’s 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 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 was far and away the Nikkei’s top percentage gainer, surging 18.29% after raising its profit forecast and announcing a share split.

That helped make oil and coal producers the best performer among the Tokyo Stock Exchange’s (TSE) 33 industry groups, with a 6.42% advance.

Semiconductor-related shares outperformed, chip-testing equipment maker Advantest jumped 7.48% and chip-making machinery manufacturer Tokyo Electron rose 3.81%.

Other notable winners included startup investor SoftBank Group and Sony, which rose around 5% each.

Financial stocks, though, bore the brunt of lower U.S. and domestic yields, which cut the outlook for investment income.

The TSE’s insurers index led declines among sectors with a 1.85% slide, while the banking index dropped 1.65%.