Japan’s Nikkei Reverses Course to End Higher; Chip Shares Shine (UPDATE 1)

Yomiuri Shimbun file photo
Tokyo Stock Exchange

TOKYO (Reuters) – Japan’s Nikkei share average erased early losses to end higher on Thursday, as investors bought back stocks on dips, with chip-related shares leading the gains.

The Nikkei ended 0.16% higher at 38,633.02, after falling as much as 0.8% earlier to track declines in European stocks in the previous session.

The broader Topix edged down 0.11% to 2,725.54.

“There were hardly any cues for the market today. Investors bought back stocks when shares were down, and sold when stocks were up, and at the end of the session, the buying exceeded the selling,” said Naoki Fujiwara, senior fund manager at Shinkin Asset Management.

While the market struggles to find clues for trading in recent sessions, the next cue to lift Japanese stocks will be when companies start announcing their first-quarter earnings next month, said Kentaro Hayashi, senior strategist at Daiwa Securities.

Chip-equipment maker Tokyo Electron gave up early losses to end 0.46% higher. Chip-testing equipment maker Advantest jumped 3.73% to become the top gainer on the Nikkei.

Uniqlo-brand owner Fast Retailing lost 0.38% and robot maker Fanuc slipped 0.85%.

The Tokyo Stock Exchange’s smaller markets rose, with the standard market ended 0.74% higher and the growth market up 1.32%.

The gains came after the Tokyo Stock Exchange said on Wednesday it would change the make-up of the benchmark Topix, raising speculation that companies with larger market value in those markets might be included in the Topix in the future, strategists said.

Of the 225 Nikkei components, 82 stocks rose and 141 fell, with two trading flat.