January 11, 2024

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Japan’s Nikkei breaks 35,000 for first time in nearly 34 years | Business News

2 min read

Japan’s Nikkei share average scaled its highest levels since February 1990 on Thursday, as a weaker yen buoyed exporters and caution over an impending hike by the Bank of Japan continued to fade on the back of weak wage data.

The Nikkei rose 1.77 per cent on its third straight day of gains this week, closing at its highest in nearly 34 years at 35,049.86. The index was also on its way to the largest weekly gain since late March 2020.

The broader Topix rose 1.57 per cent to end at 2482.87.

The strong earthquake that hit western Japan last week and lacklustre wage growth data are forcing market participants to “reappraise” when the Bank of Japan (BOJ) will normalise its monetary policy, said Tony Sycamore, a market analyst at IG.

Workers’ real wages shrank for a 20th straight month in November, according to data published on Wednesday, confounding officials’ wishes to see wage gains before tightening policy.

“That (wage data) gave the Nikkei the excuse to pop up there, towards that 35,000 level,” said Sycamore, adding the index “probably can continue to make good gains while we try and work out when the BOJ can look to take its next step.”

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The yen fell 0.9 per cent on the US dollar overnight in the wake of the data and was hovering around 145.52 during Asian trading hours.

A weaker yen tends to support exporter shares, increasing the value of overseas profits in yen terms when firms repatriate them to Japan.

Japanese stocks also got a boost from upbeat performances on Wall Street as megacaps rallied.

SMC Corp gained 4.69 per cent to top off Thursday’s winners, followed by Itochu Corp up at 4.5 per cent and telecommunications company KDDI Corp closing higher at 4.21 per cent.

Also among the best performers were Sony Group Corp up at 3.54 per cent and Suzuki Motor Corp gaining 3.86 per cent.

The largest percentage losses in the index were Yamato Holdings Co Ltd down 3.85 per cent, followed by Rakuten Group Inc losing 2.44% and Tokyo Gas Co Ltd down by 1.43 per cent.

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