Japan’s Nikkei rallies on Wall Street gains, softer yen; SoftBank jumps

TOKYO: Japan’s Nikkei share average rallied broadly on Wednesday, as a softer yen buoyed exporter shares and chip stocks tracked advances in US peers overnight.

Tech investor SoftBank Group was the Nikkei’s top gainer, adding 5.15% after exercising an option to receive shares in telco T-Mobile US worth some $7.59 billion for no additional cost.

The Nikkei entered the midday recess up 1.06% at 33,658.32, with 210 of its 225 components rising, versus just 11 that fell and four that were flat. The broader Topix added 0.89%.

Growth stocks outperformed, with an Topix sub-index of the shares gaining 0.97% compared with a 0.82% rise for value stocks.

There was only one loser among the Tokyo Stock Exchange’s 33 industry groups: a 0.03% decline for rubber companies.

Shippers led gains with a 3.18% surge. “Gains for heavyweight stocks should keep the Nikkei supported throughout the day, but up around 33,700 the Nikkei is likely to start feeling top heavy,” said Nomura Securities strategist Maki Sawada, pointing also to thin trading conditions due to the holidays that could exacerbate price swings.

The yen eased slightly to as weak as 142.83 per dollar on Wednesday, improving the outlook for exporters’ overseas profits. Toyota gained 1.12% and Sony added 1.33%.

Chip-related shares climbed after the Philadelphia SE Semiconductor Index rallied 1.8% overnight. Tokyo Electron rose 1.15% and Advantest gained 0.81%.

At the other end, retailers continued recent weakness.

Department store operator J.Front Retailing was the Nikkei’s biggest percentage decliner with a 1.3% slide, despite posting earnings after the bell on Tuesday that Nomura analyst Hisahiro Yamaoka termed a “solid performance” with “no major surprises”.

Peer Takashimaya slumped 0.67%.

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