Tokyo stocks turn sharply higher as coronavirus fears ease


Tokyo stocks turned sharply higher Friday, tracking an overnight comeback in U.S. equities after Thursday’s World Health Organization emergency meeting eased heightened concerns over the new coronavirus.

The 225-issue Nikkei average of the Tokyo Stock Exchange gained 227.43 points, or 0.99 percent, to end at 23,205.18. On Thursday, the key market gauge dived 401.65 points.

The Topix index of all TSE first section issues closed up 9.67 points, or 0.58 percent, at 1,684.44, after losing 25.18 points the previous day.

The Tokyo market got off to a higher start, after Wall Street reversed losses to end higher after the WHO, while designating the outbreak of the disease as a public health emergency of international concern, refrained from recommending any travel or trade restriction at the emergency meeting, brokers said.

Tokyo stocks accelerated their upswing in the morning, with the Nikkei briefly gaining over 440 points, led by hefty buying in index futures.

Buying lost steam in midmorning trading, however, and both the Nikkei and TOPIX traded in limited ranges in positive territory through the close, as Hong Kong stocks trimmed early gains, brokers said.

“In addition to the fact that no economic restrictions were announced, the (WHO) emergency designation raised expectations that governments across the world would take full-blown measures to contain the spread of the coronavirus,” said Hirohumi Yamamoto, strategist at Toyo Securities Co.

Yamamoto played down the significance of Friday’s sharp rise in Tokyo stocks, saying it was only a rebound from the previous day’s tumble.

Rising issues outnumbered falling ones 1,507 to 573 in the TSE’s first section, while 79 issues were unchanged.

Volume rose slightly to 1.376 billion shares from Thursday’s 1.367 billion shares.

Drugmaker Chugai Pharmaceutical Co. surged thanks to strong earnings.

Fujitsu rose after the electronics maker announced better-than-expected earnings and a share buyback plan.

Among other major winners were clothing store chain Fast Retailing Co. and air conditioner-maker Daikin Industries.

By contrast, Nintendo Co. met with selling after the game-maker released worse-than-expected earnings for April-December.

Technology firm Kyocera Corp. fell after revising down its consolidated operating profit forecast for the year to March.

Also on the negative side were auto parts maker Denso Corp. and technology investor Softbank Group Corp.

In index futures trading on the Osaka Exchange, the key March contract on the Nikkei average rose 160 points to end at 23,130.



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