Tokyo stocks close higher on hopes for quicker vaccination rollout

2021-06-02 12:06:17 GMT2021-06-02 20:06:17(Beijing Time) Xinhua English

TOKYO, June 2 (Xinhua) -- Tokyo stocks closed higher Wednesday on hopes that the country's attempts to speed up its slow vaccination campaign will lead to a quicker reopening of the economy which remains severely hampered due to newly extended COVID-19 state of emergency measures.

The 225-issue Nikkei Stock Average gained 131.80 points, or 0.46 percent, from Tuesday to close the day at 28,946.14.

The broader Topix index of all First Section issues on the Tokyo Stock Exchange, meanwhile, added 16.15 points, or 0.84 percent, to finish at 1,942.33.

Local dealers said that investors, having factored in the extension to the emergency virus measures in Japan, were looking ahead to its economy fully reopening.

They added that the market was betting on the government speeding up its vaccination rollout which would lead to a drop in new infection rates and a faster return to pre-pandemic normalcy, with issues sensitive to domestic demand, such as transportation, finding traction Wednesday.

"Daily vaccination counts are now hitting about 500,000, so we can hope that by mid-July, we could reach a level where new infections should fall because enough number of people will have been vaccinated," Nobuhiko Kuramochi, a market strategist at Mizuho Securities, was quoted as saying.

Other strategists said that despite a dire lack of qualified medical staff to administer the jabs, some universities and workplaces have been set to become vaccination centers, which should also help expedite the inoculation rollout.

"Investors have started to see that the vaccine rollout is progressing unexpectedly well," Koichi Fujishiro, a senior economist at the Dai-ichi Life Research Institute, was quoted as saying.

By the close of play, issues that rose outpaced those that fell by 1,259 to 842 on the First section, while 92 ended the day unchanged.

Department store operators advanced on hopes for the broader economic outlook, with Takashimaya jumping 4.0 percent, J. Front Retailing adding 3.2 percent, while Isetan Mitsukoshi Holdings ended 4.4 percent higher.

Similarly, transportation issues gained as investors bet that a speedier vaccination rollout would equal an increase in patronage.

As such, West Japan Railway accelerated 7.7 percent, while East Japan Railway leapt 6.0 percent.

Among airline carriers, Japan Airlines rose 3.5 percent, while ANA Holdings climbed 3.2 percent.

Automakers were among winners amid continued demand, with Toyota Motor adding 2.2 percent compared to Honda Motor's 4.6 percent jump to a three-year-high.

Bucking the upward trend, pharmaceutical issues came under selling pressure, however, with Daiichi Sankyo losing 1.6 percent, while Ono Pharmaceutical ended 1.0 percent lower.

On the main section on Wednesday, 1,248.76 million shares changed hands, rising from Tuesday's volume of 907.47 million shares.

The turnover on the third trading day of the week came to 2,774.77 billion yen (25.25 billion U.S. dollars). Enditem