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Japan Market gains on drugmakers rally

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Japan shares advanced on Tuesday, 12 January 2021, with the benchmark Nikkei stock index settling at fresh highest level in more than 30 years, as solid gains by drugmakers related to coronavirus treatments were somewhat offset by pandemic concerns as the state of emergency here is expected to be expanded to include three western prefectures.

At closing bell, the 225-issue Nikkei Stock Average advanced 25.31 points, or 0.09%, to 28,164.34, its fresh highest closing level since Aug. 8, 1990. The broader Topix index of all First Section issues on the Tokyo Stock Exchange rose 3.00 points, or 0.16%, to 1,857.94. Markets were closed on Monday for a national holiday.

Investors turned cautious after a new coronavirus variant was detected in four people who arrived in Japan from Brazil and as reports indicated the Japanese government plans to expand a state of emergency to the western prefectures of Osaka, Kyoto and Hyogo.

Shares of Chugai Pharmaceutical surged 5.9% after the British government said last week it will start using an arthritis medication developed by the Japanese drugmaker to treat severe COVID-19 patients.

Shares of Takeda Pharmaceutical climbed 3.2% to 3,815 yen after reports that the vaccine's clinical trial in Japan will start as early as next week.

ECONOMIC NEWS: Japan Posts Y1,878.4 Billion Current Account Surplus In November-- Japan posted a current account surplus of 1,878.4 billion yen in November, the Ministry of Finance said on Tuesday, down from 2,144.7 billion yen in October. Exports were down 3.4 percent on year to 6.039 trillion yen, while imports sank an annual 13.6 percent to 5.423 trillion yen.

The trade balance showed a surplus of 616.1 billion yen. The capital account showed a surplus of 2.1 billion yen and the financial account had a surplus of 1,593.3 billion yen.

The Bank of Japan said the value of overall bank lending in Japan was up 6.2 percent on year in December, coming in at 577.639 trillion yen. That was unchanged from the November reading following a downward revision from 6.3 percent.

CURRENCY NEWS: The U. S. dollar was firm in the lower 104 yen range as the dollar was bought on expectations of a widening in the interest rate gap between Japan and the United States. Around late afternoon, the dollar fetched 104.15-17 yen compared with 104.19-29 yen on Monday.

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(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

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First Published: Tue, January 12 2021. 16:39 IST