Currencies 2 MIN READ

Nikkei gains to post best week in two months amid weaker yen

March 31, 2023By Reuters

Japan’s Nikkei share average rose on Friday — the last trading day of the country’s fiscal year — and posted its best week in two months, as easing banking crisis concerns and a weaker yen bolstered investor sentiment.

However, the benchmark index ended well shy of the day’s highs as shippers tumbled for a second day after going ex-dividend. Investors were also loath to chase the market higher ahead of potentially key US inflation data due later in the day.

The Nikkei finished the day up 0.93% at 28,041.48, staying above the psychological 28,000-mark. In early trading, it had pushed as high as 28,124.62, a 1.23% rally, and 342 points above the previous close.

For the week, the Nikkei rallied 2.4%, the most since Jan. 27. It jumped 7.46% over the quarter, the best performance since the end of 2020.

The broader Topix ended 1.02% higher at 2,003.50, after topping the 2,000-mark for the first time since March 13. It has advanced 2.46% this week, also the most in two months.

“Worries about the health of the financial system have, for now at least, receded, although clearly there are still worries about what will happen with deposits,” said Kazuo Kamitani, a strategist at Nomura Securities.

Kamitani added that he expects the Nikkei to continue its upward trend over the coming week.

The Tokyo Stock Exchange’s (TSE) banking index gained 1.19% and securities firms added 1.21%, putting them among the top performing of the Tokyo Stock Exchange’s 33 industry groups.

Transport equipment, including currency-sensitive automakers, rallied 1.7%.

Mitsui & Co was the best individual performer by far, surging 7.61% after a report in the Nikkei newspaper that the trading company is considering raising its total return ratio.

At the other end, shippers, tumbled 4.87% to be the worst performers by a large margin.

(Reporting by Kevin Buckland; Editing by Sonia Cheema and Uttaresh Venkateshwaran)

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