Japan’s Nikkei Ends Choppy Session on Stronger Note (Update 1)

Yomiuri Shimbun file photo
Tokyo Stock Exchange

TOKYO (Reuters) – Japan’s Nikkei share average closed higher on Monday after a weaker yen supported export-related stocks and as technology shares regained some momentum in the afternoon session.

The Nikkei closed 0.5% higher at 38,804.65, while the broader Topix was also up 0.5% at 2740.19.

Japanese stocks struggled for direction during the morning session, with the U.S. stocks giving little to cheer after the S&P 500 and Nasdaq closed marginally lower on Friday, weighed down by a decline in Nvidia shares.

But momentum picked up in the Asian afternoon trade despite the absence of clear drivers, as yen was seen supporting export-related shares as it weakened towards the 160-per-dollar level.

A weaker yen helps boost Japanese exporters’ overseas earnings when repatriated and increases their competitiveness.

Automakers and suppliers topped gains by sector, adding 1.6%, just ahead of pharmaceutical firms, up 1.5%.

Shares of Japanese chipmakers, which have been some of the Nikkei’s strongest performers over the past year and were treading water for most of the early trade, also regained some footing.

The Nikkei has traded in a narrow range in recent months, with the index on track for a less than 1% gain this month after a flat May.

The index has been in a period of consolidation as investors wait out currency and bond market volatility and look for clarity from the Bank of Japan, although portfolio rebalancing flows could give some support as the month draws to a close, said Tony Sycamore, a market analyst at IG.

Among individual stocks, auto maker Toyota Motor rose 2.5% and AI-focused startup investor SoftBank Group inched up 0.8%.

Electrical components maker TDK added 2.2%.

Aozora Bank gained about 3% to lead a rally in bank stocks.

Chugai Pharmaceutical was up nearly 4% to top gains among drug manufacturers.

Online service platform operator Mercari was at the bottom with a 4.7% decline.