Nikkei Ends at 34-year High on Tech Gains, Weaker Yen

Yomiuri Shimbun file photo
Tokyo Stock Exchange

TOKYO (Reuters) – Japan’s Nikkei share average ended at its highest in 34 years as technology shares tracked overnight gains in U.S. peers, while a weaker yen boosted exporters.

The Nikkei index jumped 2.01% to close at 34,441.72, its highest close since February 1990. The index crossed the 34,000 level for the first time since March 1990.

The broader Topix rose 1.3% to 2,444.48, its highest since March 1990.

“The Nikkei rallied to the 34,000 level and that prompted investors to buy more stocks,” said Masahiro Ichikawa, chief market strategist at Sumitomo Mitsui DS Asset Management.

The S&P 500 and Dow closed lower overnight, but the technology-heavy Nasdaq edged higher.

“The weaker yen was a tailwind for Japanese stocks. This came after the yen’s gain against the dollar weighed on sentiment and limited the Nikkei’s gains at the end of last year,” said Shuutarou Yasuda, a market analyst at Tokai Tokyo Research Institute.

The Japanese yen weakened against the dollar in Asian trade ahead of U.S. inflation data later this week that could influence the Federal Reserve’s policy.

A softer yen helps exporters as it increases the value of overseas profits in yen terms when firms repatriate them to Japan.

Uniqlo-brand clothing retail chain operator Fast Retailing jumped 3.83% to become the biggest boost for the Nikkei.

Chip-making equipment maker Tokyo Electron gained 1.91% and ceramics maker Kyocera climbed 6.09%.

Sony Group rose 3.82% to become the biggest boost for the Topix. Electronics maker Keyence jumped 4.86%.

Computer maker Fujitsu fell 1.94% and was the biggest percentage loser.

Of the 225 components, 176 shares rose, 47 fell and two were flat.