Japan’s Nikkei Hits 1-month High as BOJ Gives No Hint on Policy Shift
13:05 JST, December 20, 2023
TOKYO (Reuters) – Japan’s Nikkei index hit a one-month high on Wednesday as caution on the Bank of Japan’s (BOJ) policy stance faded after the central bank offered no hints on when it would exit its negative rate policy.
The Nikkei was up 1.75% to 33,799.41 by the mid-day break, hitting its highest since Nov. 20.
“There was no sign from the BOJ (Bank of Japan) Governor (Kazuo) Ueda on the timing of the exit from the bank’s negative rate policy,” said Shuutarou Yasuda, market analyst at Tokai Tokyo Research Institute.
“He gave us no clue even whether the BOJ is getting close to making such a change.”
The BOJ maintained ultra-loose policy on Tuesday in a widely expected move as the central bank opted to wait for more evidence on whether wages and prices would rise enough to justify a shift away from massive monetary stimulus.
The Japanese market was also underpinned by an overnight strong finish of Wall Street and the yen’s weakness against the dollar, market players said.
Wall Street extended its rally on Tuesday as last week’s dovish policy pivot from the Federal Reserve continued to reverberate and the yen tumbled as the BOJ also made no change to its dovish policy guidance.
Among individual stocks, Uniqlo-brand clothing shop operator Fast Retailing rose 3.84% to give the biggest boost to the Nikkei. Silicon wafer maker Shin-Etsu Chemical jumped 4.5% and air-conditioning maker Daikin Industries rose 3.73%.
Toppan Holdings surged 9.76% to become the top percentage gainer on the Nikkei after Daiwa Securities raised its rating for the printing firm to “outperform.”
The broader Topix had jumped 1.08% to 2,359.05, with Toyota Motor becoming the top gainer, rising 1.78%.
All but two of 33 industry sub-indexes rose, with machinery makers advancing 2.32% to lead the gains. Komatsu and Kubota rose 3.18% and 1.55%, respectively.
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