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Nikkei hits 5-week high on hopes of US economy re-opening, cyclicals jump

Tokyo's benchmark Nikkei index rallied more than 3.1 percent on April 17 as investors welcomed a pledge by President Donald Trump to press ahead with reopening the US economy. (File photo/AFP)
Tokyo's benchmark Nikkei index rallied more than 3.1 percent on April 17 as investors welcomed a pledge by President Donald Trump to press ahead with reopening the US economy. (File photo/AFP)
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17 Apr 2020 02:04:04 GMT9
17 Apr 2020 02:04:04 GMT9

Japan's share benchmark Nikkei climbed to its highest levels in more than five weeks on Friday, tracking gains in US futures, supported by President Donald Trump's guidelines for re-opening the economy and on reports of a potential coronavirus treatment.

The Nikkei average gained as much as 3.1% to 19,892.96, its intraday high since March 11, and ended the morning session 2.6% higher at 19,782.35.

The Nikkei's volatility index, a measure of investors' volatility expectations based on option pricing and considered to be a fear gauge, dropped to as low as 35.31, its six-week low.

US stock futures jumped in Asian trade after Trump unveiled guidelines for re-opening the economy and a report of promising early data related to a potential COVID-19 treatment from Gilead Sciences Inc, with S&P 500 e-minis last trading up 3.3%.

Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co Ltd (TSMC), the world's largest contract chipmaker whose clients include iPhone maker Apple Inc, reported a near doubling in first-quarter net profit.

Taking a positive cue from this, Tokyo-listed chipmaking-related stocks were in demand, with chip-making gear manufacturer Tokyo Electron Ltd rising 3.7% and test device maker Advantest Corp soaring 5.1%.

The broader Topix advanced 1.3% to 1,440.25, with all but five of the 33 sector sub-indexes on the Tokyo exchange trading higher.

Highly cyclical iron and steel, transport equipment and sea transport were the top three performing indexes on the main bourse.

Nippon Steel Corp gained 4.6% and JFE Steel's parent JFE Holdings Inc climbed 5.6%.

Honda Motor Co Ltd surged 7.1%, while Nissan Motor Co Ltd and Mazda Motor Corp added 3.4% and 4.6%, respectively.

The market largely shrugged off a larger-than-expected fall of 6.8% year-on-year in China's gross domestic product (GDP) data for the January-March quarter.

Reuters

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