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Japanese stocks advance as Trump voices hopes virus leveling-off

A man looks at movements of the foreign exchange rate against the US dollar (upper) in Tokyo on March 31, 2020. (AFP)
A man looks at movements of the foreign exchange rate against the US dollar (upper) in Tokyo on March 31, 2020. (AFP)
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06 Apr 2020 01:04:11 GMT9
06 Apr 2020 01:04:11 GMT9

SYDNEY: Japanese shares advanced on Monday as markets were encouraged by a slowdown in coronavirus deaths and new cases in US hot spots, although uncertainty about a potential lockdown in Tokyo kept some investors wary.

The benchmark Nikkei average rose 2.4 percent to 18,249.57 by the midday break, led by futures tagging sharp gains in US stock futures.

E-mini futures for the S&P 500 index jumped as much as 3.3 percent after US President Donald Trump expressed hope the country was seeing a "levelling off" of the coronavirus crisis in hot spots.

Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe will impose a state of emergency as early as Tuesday in a bid to stop the coronavirus spreading, the Yomiuri newspaper reported, as the cumulative number of infections topped 1,000 in Tokyo alone.

Abe will likely announce his plans to declare the emergency on Monday, the paper said, while the Kyodo news agency said new measures would likely come into force on Wednesday.

Some analysts said the government could declare a state of emergency when it announces an economic stimulus package on Tuesday to combat the coronavirus pandemic.

The broader Topix added 1.8 percent to 1,349.53 by the midday recess, with all but four of the 33 sector sub-indexes on the Tokyo Stock Exchange in positive territory.

Information and communication was the top performing sector, rising 4.3 percent on hopes for growing demand for data as more people work from home or stay at home due to the coronavirus pandemic.

NTT Docomo Inc climbed 6.0 percent while KDDI Corp and SoftBank Corp gained 5.5 percent and 5.4 percent respectively.

Fujifilm Holdings Corp jumped 6.1 percent to hit a record high after Reuters and other media reported that Japan was planning to boost stockpiles of the Avigan anti-flu drug, which is being tested as a treatment for COVID-19 in China.

Denka Co Ltd, which produces the raw chemicals used to make Avigan, soared 14.6 percent.

Reuters

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