Japan’s Nikkei share average rebounded on Friday morning, rising for the first time in the week as the dollar bounced against the yen after solid US data, while financial stocks attracted strong gains. Trading in Takata Corp stock was suspended by the Tokyo Stock Exchange after media reported that the company is preparing to file for bankruptcy as early as next week as the safety equipment manufacturer attempts to manage the world’s largest safety recall. Takata is working toward a deal for financial backing from U.S. auto-parts maker Key Safety Systems Inc.
By midmorning the Nikkei gained 0.5 percent to 19,936.61, poised for its first daily gain in five days. The benchmark index is on track to fall 0.4 percent for the week. Markets are focused on the Bank of Japan’s policy decision later in the day, followed by a news conference with BOJ Governor Haruhiko Kuroda. The central bank is set to keep monetary policy steady and signal its confidence in a strengthening economy.
The Japanese market languished on Thursday after weak U.S. inflation data overshadowed an interest hike by the U.S. Federal Reserve. But traders said that concerns about the U.S. economy have receded for now, as solid U.S. indicators strengthened the case for the Fed to continue tightening monetary policy this year. “The U.S. data overnight triggered shortcovering,” said Norihiro Fujito, a senior investment strategist at Mitsubishi UFJ Morgan Stanley Securities.
The dollar rose 0.2 percent to 111.11 yen after data showed that the number of Americans filing unemployment claims fell more than expected last week. It suggested that slack in the labor market was shrinking, and the New York manufacturing and Philadelphia Fed business conditions indexes for June beat expectations.
But Fujito added that although excess pessimism over the U.S. economy seems to have receded, the market needs fresh catalysts for investors to chase the Nikkei back to the 20,000 level. The Japan Exchange Group, operator of the Tokyo bourse, said foreign investors last week turned net sellers of Japanese cash stocks for the first time in nine weeks.
They sold a net 35.4 billion yen in Japanese cash stocks during that week, after buying 1.86 trillion yen from the second week f April through the last week of May. Friday’s notable gainers were financial stocks, with Mitsubishi UFJ Financial Group rising 1.7 percent, Nomura Holdings soaring 2.7 percent and insurer T&D Holdings advancing 1.6 percent. Tech shares underperformed, hit by weak weakness in their U.S. counterparts.
Tokyo Electron shed 1.1 percent, Advantest Corp declined 0.1 percent, TDK Corp shed 0.4 percent and Sharp Corp was flat. The broader Topix gained 0.6 percent to 1,596.90 and the JPX-Nikkei Index 400 added 0.6 percent to 14,216.02.