Japan’s Nikkei Breaks 35,000 for First Time Since Feb 1990

Yomiuri Shimbun file photo
Tokyo Stock Exchange

TOKYO, Jan 11 (Reuters) – Japan’s Nikkei share average, on Thursday, reached its highest since February 1990, as a weaker yen buoyed exporters and caution over an impending hike by the Bank of Japan continued to fade on the back of weak wage data.

The Nikkei was up 1.94% at 35,110.52 by the mid-day close. The index is on track for a third straight day of gains and closing in on its largest weekly rise since late March 2020.

The broader Topix was up 1.81% at 2488.65.

The strong earthquake that hit western Japan last week and weak wage growth data are forcing market participants to “reappraise” when the Bank of Japan (BOJ) will normalize its monetary policy, said Tony Sycamore, a market analyst at IG.

Workers’ real wages shrank for a 20th straight month in November, according to data published on Wednesday, confounding officials’ wishes to see wage gains before tightening policy.

“That (wage data) gave the Nikkei the excuse to pop up there, towards that 35,000 level,” said Sycamore, adding the Nikkei “probably can continue to make good gains while we try and work out when the BOJ can look to take its next step.”

The yen fell 0.9% on the U.S. dollar overnight in the wake of the data and was hovering around 145.56 per dollar in morning trade.

A weaker yen tends to support exporter shares, increasing the value of overseas profits in yen terms when firms repatriate them to Japan.

Japanese stocks also got a boost from a good day on Wall Street as megacaps rallied.

SMC Corp’s 5.07% gain led the top performers, followed by Itochu Corp at 4.83% and Hitachi Ltd at 4.58%.

The biggest losers were Yamato Holdings, down 2.78%, followed by Rakuten Group losing 2.58% and Shiseido down by 1.31%.

There were 202 advancers on the Nikkei index against 23 decliners.