Tokyo’s Nikkei 225 Average extended its six-month high with export stocks continuing to feel the benefit of a weaker yen.
The Japanese stock average has climbed 6.6 per cent since the Bank of Japan’s decision to expand its asset purchase programme on February 14. In the same period, the yen has lost 3.4 per cent against the dollar.
On Thursday, the Nikkei outperformed the region’s other markets, climbing 0.4 per cent to 9,595.57 as the broad FTSE Asia Pacific index fell 0.1 per cent to 247.17.
Adrian Foster at Rabobank said: “Equities are mixed with most markets a bit lower after the overnight falls in Europe and the US but the Nikkei is higher as exporters breathe a sigh of relief alongside the recent weakness in the yen.”
Thanks to the recent gains in the market, Japanese securities groups were picking up the pace. Matsui Securities gained 5.7 per cent to Y504, while Nomura Holding climbed 4.2 per cent to Y376 and Daiwa Securities added 4 per cent to Y335.
Electronics exporters continued to feel the benefit of the weaker yen. Casio Computer rose 2.8 per cent to Y560, while Sharp added 2.7 per cent to Y564. Printer manufacturer Ricoh added 2.2 per cent to Y695.
Mazda Motor defied the upbeat mood in the motor vehicle sector as investors showed their resistance to the company’s planned issue of new shares that could dilute existing shares by up to 69 per cent. The stock fell 6.8 per cent to Y137.
Elsewhere in the sector, however, easing currency headwinds helped Nissan Motor 1.6 per cent higher to Y827, while Fuji Heavy Industries, maker of the Subaru brand, gained 2.5 per cent to Y617.
In Seoul, the Kospi Composite fell 1 per cent to 2,007.8. Samsung Electronics dropped 3.1 per cent to Won1,160,000 on profit-taking after hitting a record high on Wednesday.
Diotek, which develops voice-recognition software, tumbled 8.2 per cent to Won13,500, and Infraware, the mobile software maker, sank 7.8 per cent to Won15,400 after Samsung denied media reports that it was to buy stakes in the two companies.
The Australian market’s losses were capped by a number of positive corporate earnings. Insurance Australia Group climbed 8.3 per cent to A$3.14 after posting stronger than expected interim net profit.
The S&P/ASX 200 edged 0.2 per cent lower to 4,286.2.
In China, the Shanghai Composite nudged 0.3 per cent higher to 2,409.6, while the Hang Seng index in Hong Kong lost 0.8 per cent to 21,380.99.
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