Tokyo stocks ended higher Thursday as investor sentiment was improved by reports that the United Kingdom and the European Union are nearing a post-Brexit free trade agreement and hopes for further coronavirus vaccine distribution.
The 225-issue Nikkei Stock Average ended up 143.56 points, or 0.54 percent, from Wednesday at 26,668.35. The broader Topix index of all First Section issues on the Tokyo Stock Exchange finished 9.06 points, or 0.51 percent, higher at 1,774.27.
The U.S. dollar hovered in the mid-103 yen range as market players refrained from making bold moves ahead of Christmas holidays overseas.
Shares opened higher and moved narrowly throughout the day. Gainers were led by mining, iron and steel, and nonferrous metal issues.
“Investors were cheered by European shares’ rebound on the UK-EU news and that disruptions with a no-deal Brexit could be avoided,” said Kazuo Kamitani, a strategist in the Investment Content Department of Nomura Securities Co, in reference to the Dec 31 deadline for negotiations between London and Brussels.
Economic recovery hopes with more vaccine distributions supported the market, after the U.S. government agreed to buy 100 million more doses of the vaccine developed by American pharmaceutical giant Pfizer Inc. and its German partner BioNTech SE, Kamitani said.
Other than the United States, Canada approved U.S. biotechnology firm Moderna Inc’s vaccine, while Britain’s health minister said Wednesday the University of Oxford and British drugmaker AstraZeneca Plc had submitted to regulators full data on their vaccine needed for approval.
On the First Section on the Tokyo Stock Exchange, advancing issues outnumbered decliners 1,468 to 615, while 104 ended unchanged.
Retailer Aeon rose 108 yen, or 3.5 percent, to 3,225 yen a day after revising upward its operating profit forecast for the year through February on an increase in demand in basic goods and hygiene products amid the pandemic.
Companies related to building offshore wind farms gained after reports that the Japanese government aims to expand wind power generation in hopes of meeting its carbon neutrality goal.
Mitsubishi Heavy Industries rose 29.50 yen, or 1.0 percent, to 2,901.50 yen, and environment equipment and plants maker Hitachi Zosen jumped 34 yen, or 6.4 percent, to 567 yen.
Bucking the upward trend, SoftBank Group, a shareholder in Chinese e-commerce giant Alibaba Group Holding Ltd, fell 133 yen, or 1.6 percent, to 7,942 yen after China’s market regulator said earlier Thursday it has started an anti-monopoly investigation on the Chinese company.
Trading volume on the main section dropped to 878.40 million shares from Wednesday’s 991.01 million.