Japan’s Main Stock Indexes at Record Closing Highs as Banks, Autos and Techs Rise (Update 1)

Yomiuri Shimbun file photo
Tokyo Stock Exchange

TOKYO (Reuters) – Japan’s main stock indexes settled at record closing highs on Thursday, led by gains in shares of automakers, banks and technology firms, as the market expects a robust corporate outlook in the latter half of the year.

The broader Topix index hit a record high, surpassing its previous peak from 34 years ago, rising to as high as 2,900.91 earlier in the session.

The index ended 0.92% higher at 2,898.47, crossing a record closing high scaled in December 1989.

“The Topix needed power from automakers and banks to rise as they take up a large portion in the index’s weighting,” said Yugo Tsuboi, chief equity strategist at Daiwa Securities.

“Bank shares rose along with the expectations that interest rates will rise and automakers were supported by a weak yen.”

Toyota Motor rose 1.98% to provide the biggest boost to the Topix. Honda Motor jumped 3%.

Mitsubishi UFJ Financial Group climbed 1.47% and Mizuho Financial Group jumped 3.45%.

The Nikkei ended 0.82% higher at 40,913.65, crossing a record close marked on March 22, led by technology stocks, with chip-testing equipment maker Advantest rising 2.14%. Technology investor SoftBank Group gained 4.53%.

The indexes will maintain the momentum toward the end of the year as investors expect local companies will raise their outlook, Daiwa’s Tsuboi said.

“Investors sold Japanese stocks earlier this year as Japanese companies made conservative outlook, but with signs of economic improvement, they expect better outlook to be issued later in the year,” Tsuboi said, adding that he maintains his 43,000 target for the Nikkei at the end of this year.

Of more than 1,600 stocks trading on the Tokyo Stock Exchange’s (TSE) prime market, 59% rose and 35% fell with 4% trading flat.