Japan's Nikkei closes higher as PM's vaccination pledge raises hopes for economy

2021-06-10 10:05:20 GMT2021-06-10 18:05:20(Beijing Time) Xinhua English

TOKYO, June 10 (Xinhua) -- Japan's benchmark Nikkei stock index closed higher Thursday as investor sentiment was bolstered on hopes for a swifter economic reopening following the government here pledging to ramp up its COVID-19 vaccination drive.

The 225-issue Nikkei Stock Average gained 97.76 points, or 0.34 percent, from Wednesday to close the day at 28,958.56.

The broader Topix index of all First Section issues on the Tokyo Stock Exchange, meanwhile, edged down 0.41 points, or 0.02 percent, to finish at 1,956.73.

Local dealers said Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga pledging a day earlier to finish the country's COVID-19 vaccination campaign by November raised hopes for the country's economic outlook and saw investors seek out bellwether stocks.

"Investor sentiment has been cheered, as Japan's vaccine rollout is meeting the set goals and proceeding unexpectedly well," Koichi Fujishiro, a senior economist at the Dai-ichi Life Research Institute, was quoted as saying.

During a parliamentary debate with opposition leaders Wednesday, Suga said, "We hope to complete all citizens who want to be vaccinated from October through November this year."

Some skepticism remains over the inoculation drive, however, as Japan has thus far only succeeded in fully vaccinating 4 percent of its population of 126 million, strategists pointed out.

The market's upside was also capped as some investors opted to book profits and others remained on the sidelines.

This was on concerns the U.S. Federal Reserve may taper its stimulus measures if U.S. consumer price data for May set to be released Thursday triggers another spike in long-term U.S. bond yields and related inflation woes, brokers here said.

As for the U.S. dollar-yen pairing, the dollar floated mainly in the mid-109 yen zone and fetched 109.54-56 yen at 5 p.m., compared with 109.58-68 yen in New York and 109.44-45 yen at 5 p.m. on Wednesday in Tokyo.

The euro, meanwhile, fetched 1.2160-2161 dollars and 133.20-24 yen against 1.2173-2183 dollars and 133.49-59 yen in New York and 1.2182-2184 dollars and 133.32-36 yen in late Wednesday afternoon trade in Tokyo.

By the close of play, marine transportation, and pulp and paper issues led notable gainers, while farm and fishery, and mining issues comprised those that declined the most.

Among pharmaceutical issues, Eisai fell 7 percent, having hit its daily limit for two consecutive days, following U.S. regulators earlier this week approved a drug it jointly developed with U.S. biotech firm Biogen to treat Alzheimer's disease.

Other drugmakers gained on individual news, with Shionogi adding 3.4 percent, following reports it will produce its own COVID-19 vaccine.

Ono Pharmaceutical, meanwhile, gained 1.5 percent on news it will receive state backing for research related to developing COVID-19-related medication, while Chugai Pharmaceutical closed 1 percent higher.

Semiconductor-oriented issues found favor on hopes for increased demand commensurate with the economy reopening, with Tokyo Electron and Screen Holdings both rising 1.6 percent.

Among other blue-chips, industrial robotics maker Fanuc ended the day 1.8 percent higher.

Issues that fell outpaced those that rose by 1,066 to 991 on the First Section, while 136 ended the day unchanged.

On the main section on Thursday, 1,028.05 million shares changed hands, rising from Wednesday's volume of 994.45 million shares.

The turnover on the penultimate trading day of the week came to 2,404.21 billion yen (21.96 billion U.S. dollars). Enditem