Japan’s Nikkei Rises as Chip-Related Shares Track US Peers Higher (UPDATE 1)

Yomiuri Shimbun file photo
Tokyo Stock Exchange

TOKYO (Reuters) – Japan’s Nikkei share average ended higher on Thursday as Tokyo Electron and other chip-related stocks tracked their U.S. peers higher, but gains were capped amid caution ahead of global central bank meetings.

The Nikkei rose 0.55% to close at 38,703.51. The index rose as much as 1.35% to cross the 39,000 level earlier in the session.

“Chip shares lifted the Nikkei, but its gains were capped as investors sold stocks as soon as the index crossed a milestone,” said Shuutarou Yasuda, a market analyst at Tokai Tokyo Intelligence Laboratory, referring to the 39,000 level.

Chip-making equipment maker Tokyo Electron jumped 3.46% to provide the biggest boost to the Nikkei. Chip-testing equipment maker Advantest jumped 3.91%.

U.S. chip stocks leapt 4.5% overnight, buoyed by gains to Nvidia and Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing.

Nvidia’s market value hit the $3 trillion mark for the first time as the chipmaker overtook Apple to become the world’s second-most valuable company.

“Until the market confirms policy path of central banks in the U.S., Europe and Japan, it will be hard to make active bets on stocks,” Yasuda said.

The European Central Bank meets on Thursday, and markets price in an almost certain chance of a first rate cut. The Federal Reserve and the Bank of Japan will hold their policy meetings next week.

The broader Topix rose 0.33% to 2,757,23.

Of the more than 1,600 stocks traded on the Tokyo Stock Exchange’s prime section, 36% rose while 59% fell, with 3% flat.

Technology investor SoftBank Group jumped for a second straight session as activist investor Elliott Management rebuilt a stake worth more than $2 billion and called for a $15 billion share buyback.

But the stock erased most of its early gains to end up 1.39%.