Chip names lead Tokyo shares higher

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A bounceback in chip-related shares and a sturdy performance overnight by US stock markets pushed the Japanese share market up strongly on Friday.

By the close of trading the Nikkei 225 was up 1.4 per cent at 18,238.95. The broader Topix rose 1.1 per cent to 1,783.20.

Overnight, the US S&P 500 closed at a record high of 1,547.7, up 1.9 per cent on the day.

Chip-related stocks gained after an earnings announcement by Korean chipmaker Samsung Electronics that pointed to a stronger second half for the global chip market. The sector also caught a tailwind after Shin-Etsu, the world’s biggest maker of silicon wafers, on Thursday reported first-quarter net profit growth of 28 per cent. The company cited strong sales of wafers used to make microchips. Shares were up 3.9 per cent at Y9,500, while Tokyo Electron recovered 3.2 per cent to Y9,090.

Nintendo’s share price continued to advance, rising 1.5 per cent to Y50,400 after president Satoru Iwata said sales of its Wii games console could be higher than rival Sony’s PlayStation 2. That would make it the most successful console in the industry’s history. Sony nevertheless added 0.9 per cent to Y6,410 amid a general rise among export-focused stocks.

Other export shares to gain included Matsushita Electric Industrial, the world’s biggest consumer electronics maker under the Panasonic brand, adding 1.3 per cent to Y2,360.

Fast Retailing dropped 2.7 per cent to Y8,000 after the clothing retailer on Thursday cut its full-year forecast for the third time, citing losses at subsidiaries and a recent drop in same-store sales.

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