Japan's Nikkei share average rose on Thursday, benefitting from a weaker yen after the dollar gained when US jobs data cemented expectations the US Federal Reserve is poised to raise interest rates next week.
Japan’s Nikkei share average rose on Thursday, benefitting from a weaker yen after the dollar gained when U.S. jobs data cemented expectations the U.S. Federal Reserve is poised to raise interest rates next week. The Nikkei was up 0.15 percent at 19,283.10 at midday, breaking a four-session losing streak and moving back toward 14-month peaks scaled last week. The rise came despite a lacklustre day on Wall Street, which was pressured by slumping oil prices. A surprisingly robust private U.S. jobs report from ADP raised expectations for Friday’s key nonfarm payrolls release. With investors focused on U.S. data ahead of the Fed’s March 14-15 meeting, Japanese stocks are taking directional cues from the yen’s trajectory against the dollar, market participants said. “It feels like an air pocket, as the Nikkei is boxed into a range,” said Stefan Worrall, director of Japan equity sales at Credit Suisse in Tokyo.
“Near-term macro catalysts are obviously the U.S. payrolls this Friday,” he said.
The dollar was last up 0.1 percent at 114.45 yen.
Shares of Toshiba Corp skidded 6.4 percent.
Westinghouse Electric Co LLC, the U.S. nuclear power plant developer owned by the troubled Japanese electronics giant, has brought in bankruptcy attorneys from law firm Weil Gotshal & Manges LLP, people familiar with the matter said on Wednesday.
“The market is nervous as Toshiba is reporting its earnings soon,” said Mitsushige Akino, chief fund manager at Ichiyoshi Asset Management, who said that investors who bought Toshiba shares at lower levels were taking profit after the latest news reports.
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“We don’t know how much Toshiba is planning to sell its semiconductor business for, and we don’t know for sure how much loss in total Westinghouse will end up posting…there are too many important numbers that investors still don’t know,” Akino said.
Shares of Nintendo Co Ltd added 0.7 percent, on continued hopes for strong sales of its new Switch, a hybrid home console and handheld device that it released on March 3.
The Tokyo Stock Exchange’s mining subindex skidded 1.7 percent. London copper fell to seven-week lows overnight after the solid U.S. jobs data, as well as signs that disruption at the world’s biggest copper mine may soon ease.
The oil and coal subindex fell 0.6 percent, as oil prices steadied in Asian trade after U.S. crude futures plummeted more than 5 percent overnight to their lowest level since December.
The broader Topix edged up 0.1 percent to 1,552.45, while the JPX-Nikkei Index 400 also rose 0.1 percent to 13,886.33.