Japanese factory output and US consumer confidence are among the few trading cues in the last trading week of the year, with Tokyo’s Nikkei 225 on track to be one of the
best-performing major stock indices globally.
Japanese factory output and US consumer confidence are among the few trading cues in the last trading week of the year, with Tokyo’s Nikkei 225 on track to be one of the best-performing major stock indices globally.
The Japanese market is open from Monday through Wednesday in what is expected to be quiet trading in a holiday-shortened week. Yesterday, Tokyo closed lower, as a strong yen dented exporters, with most Asian markets shut for a public holiday.
However, Chinese shares rose on stimulus expectations, though gains were limited by the lack of trading enthusiasm as the year end approached, dealers said.
The benchmark Shanghai Composite Index added 0.43%, or 15.42 points, to 3,627.91. It rose 1.37% over the week.
The Shenzhen Composite Index, which tracks stocks on China’s second exchange, gained 0.57%, or 13.36 points, to 2,359.73. It climbed 1.03% during the week.
Taiwan added 0.47%. Most other regional financial markets were closed. Tokyo was dragged down by a stronger yen—bad news for exporters’ profitability—as the dollar slipped to ¥120.11 against ¥120.28 on Thursday in New York.
“The yen is back where it was before US interest rates were raised,” Nomura strategist Juichi Wako told Bloomberg News.
“The fact that markets aren’t pricing in the next interest rate hike in the US is the biggest factor” for the dollar’s weakness, Wako said. The Nikkei 225 slipped 0.11%, or 20.63 points, to 18,769.06 by the close. Over a holiday shortened week, it lost 1.15%.
Japanese markets were closed Wednesday for a public holiday. The broader Topix index of all first-section shares dropped 0.49%, or 7.43 points, to 1,516.19. It was down 1.36% this week.
With just a few days left of 2015 trading, the Nikkei is among the best-performing stock markets globally, rising 7.55% since the start of the year.
The Topix index is up 7.72% since the end of 2014. Shortly before markets opened yesterday, official figures showed Japan’s inflation rate ticked higher in November—the first gain in five months—but still-weak household spending weighed on the world’s number three economy. In share trading, Mitsubishi Heavy Industries dropped 4.64% to ¥517.5 after it said Thursday it was postponing delivery of the first made-in-Japan passenger jet by one year to the second quarter of 2018.
The company cited “several issues” discovered after the jet’s maiden test flight last month. Toshiba fell 1.81% to ¥216.6 after its chief executive told the leading Nikkei business daily that the crisis-hit firm may deepen the scope of its restructuring.
The shares were hammered this week after Toshiba warned over a record $4.5bn annual loss and thousands of layoffs following an embarrassing profit-padding scandal.
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