Japan’s Nikkei share average edged up to hover near two-year highs on Tuesday morning as a weaker yen helped exporters rise, while financial stocks rebounded from Monday’s declines. The Nikkei gained 0.4 percent to 20,233.23 in midmorning trade after hitting as high as 20,250.10 earlier. The index hovers last week’s high of 20,318.11, the highest level since August 2015. The dollar stood tall on Tuesday, pushing to more than a one-month high against the yen as investors waited to see if Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen would stick to her positive economic outlook at an event later in the global session. The dollar was at 112.03 yen, the highest since May 24.
Traders said that volume may be subdued with few major catalysts from both the domestic and overseas markets. On Monday, volume on the Tokyo Stock Exchange’s First Section was 1.396 billion shares, the lowest level in nearly a month. “The fundamental mood is not bad, but it’s hard for investors to find a direction on a day where there is no other major catalysts other than a weak yen,” said Hikaru Sato, a senior technical analyst at Daiwa Securities.
Exporters gained ground, with Toyota Motor Corp rising 0.7 percent, Panasonic Corp soaring 1.5 percent and Canon Inc advancing 0.7 percent. Financial stocks rose, with banks and insurers rising 0.9 percent and 0.8 percent, respectively. Mizuho Financial Group rose 0.6 percent, Dai-ichi Life Holdings added 1.0 percent and T&D Holdings surged 1.5 percent.
Troubled air bag inflator maker Takata Corp, which filed for bankruptcy protection in the United States and Japan on Monday, was untraded with a glut of sell orders and was marked down at 110 yen, a daily limit low. The broader Topix rose 0.4 percent to 1,618.93 and the JPX-Nikkei Index 400 advanced 0.5 percent to 14,398.53.