Japan’s Nikkei share average rose to near one-month highs on Wednesday, buoyed by a weaker yen and record high for the Nasdaq Composite. The Nikkei was up 0.8 percent at midday at 19,231.92 points, after touching its highest intraday levels since March 29. The Nikkei is up 3.3 percent for the week so far, and 1.7 percent for April.
“Depending on what overseas markets do, there is reason to believe that the Nikkei could test 19,500 ahead of the upcoming holidays,” said Yutaka Miura, a senior technical analyst at Mizuho Securities.
Tokyo markets will be closed for three days from May 3 for a string of holidays known as the Golden Week. The Nasdaq Composite hit a record high on Tuesday, while the Dow and S&P 500 brushed against recent peaks as strong earnings underscored the health of corporate America.
The dollar was up 0.1 percent at 111.22 yen, adding to its hefty gains made on Tuesday, when it climbed 1.2 percent to log its biggest one-day rise against the yen in three months. The Bank of Japan began a two-day policy meeting on Wednesday, at which it is widely expected to hold policy steady.
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Policymakers are set to offer a more upbeat assessment of the economy than last month, as a pick-up in overseas demand bolsters exports and factory output, sources have told Reuters. Toshiba Corp added 3 percent, after the Nikkei business daily reported that the troubled electronics conglomerate has decided to replace its auditor after less than a year as struggles to win its approval on full-year financial statement.
Shares of major Japanese shipbuilding companies outperformed the broader market, with Mitsui OSK Lines up 2.4 percent, Nippon Yusen up 1.8 percent, and Kawasaki Kisen adding 1.1 percent. Nikkei reported that the three companies will post net profits in fiscal 2017.
IHI Corp shares rose 7.3 after the ship and heavy machinery manufacturer on Tuesday hiked its group operating profit forecast for the full fiscal year. Shares of Chugai Pharmaceutical Co added 2.1 percent after it said it will retire 123,000 treasury shares of its common stock on Friday.
The broader Topix added 0.9 percent to 1,532.73, while the JPX-Nikkei Index 400 was also 0.9 percent higher at 13,722.76.
(Reporting by Tokyo markets team; Editing by Kim Coghill)