Japanese stocks end higher on Wall Street gains and stable US rates
TOKYO, May 21 (Reuters) – Japanese stocks ended higher on Friday as a good end of the night on Wall Street prompted investors to bet on cheap growth stocks, while stable interest rates Americans also supported sentiment.
The Nikkei stock average rose 0.78% to close at 28,317.83, while the larger Topix rose 0.46% to 1,904.69.
Nikkei, which has come under pressure over concerns about the slow economic recovery from the COVID-19 trough due to stagnant vaccine deployments in Japan, briefly fell just over 10% earlier this month after peaking in February.
“Investors have started to feel comfortable with betting because stock prices have become relatively cheap,” said Jun Morita, managing director of the research department at Chibagin Asset Management.
“And an overnight gain in the Nasdaq and stable US interest rates also boosted sentiment.”
Fast Retailing, known for its clothing brand Uniqlo, rose 1.09%, while chipmaker Tokyo Electron rose 1.31%. Medical equipment maker Olympus jumped 2.05%.
Major Wall Street indexes rebounded from a three-day drop, supported by gains in tech stocks, while the benchmark 10-year Treasury yield fell after slowing factory activity in the Mid-Atlantic region of the United States in May.
Takeda Pharmaceutical gained 1.44% after a report that Moderna Inc plans to manufacture its COVID-19 vaccine in Japan. Takeda is handling the import and regulatory deposit of the vaccine, which the Department of Health officially approved on Friday.
Japan’s biggest oil and gas explorer Inpex slipped 3.86%, making it the Nikkei’s biggest loser, as oil prices fell sharply on Thursday, when diplomats said progress had been made towards an agreement to lift US sanctions against Iran.
Its counterpart Japan Petroleum Exploration lost 3.19%. (Reporting by Junko Fujita; Editing by Rashmi Aich)