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Japan Market gains on hopes for vaccine and economic recovery

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Japan share market finished session higher on Tuesday, 19 May 2020, following an enthusiastic night on Wall Street, fuelled by optimism about a potential vaccine for the coronavirus after Drugmaker Moderna Inc experimental COVID-19 vaccine showed promising results in a small early-stage trial. At closing bell, the 225-issue Nikkei Stock Average advanced 299.72 points, or 1.49%, to 20,433.46. The broader Topix index of all First Section issues on the Tokyo Stock Exchange rose 26.76 points, or 1.83%, at 1,486.05.

Total 32 issues of 33 industry category of Topix index ended in positive territory, with Iron & Steel, Insurance, Marine Transportation, Glass & Ceramics Products, Rubber Products, Nonferrous Metals, Banks, and Securities & Commodities Futures issues being notable gainers.

Investors appetite for risk assets underpinned on tracking gains on the Wall Street overnight on news on the first clinical tests of a coronavirus vaccine. Drug company Massachusetts-based Moderna announced encouraging results in very early testing of an experimental coronavirus vaccine. Adding to an upbeat mood was the firm saying in a press release that provisional clinical data showed that the vaccine created coronavirus antibodies in some of those who took part in the trial and added that it was "generally safe". A Phase 3 trial, the largest and most important to validate the efficacy of a vaccine, should begin in July.

The World Health Organization has said there are more than 100 candidate vaccines worldwide in various stages of developmental process and trials aimed at combating the virus.

Investors have kept a close eye on vaccine programs of several drugmakers, cheering any positive development amid fears of a second wave of infections as governments start easing restrictions. Investors are hoping that a working vaccine for COVID-19 can be developed and that it will help reassure people and businesses as the economy reopens.

News of favourable results about a potential vaccine, coupled with the easing of lockdown measures across the globe, supported risk sentiments.

Horiuchi was referring to the full reopening of Japan's economy, some major cities of which, including Tokyo and Osaka, are still under coronavirus-linked restrictions under the state of emergency.

A continued drop in new daily COVID-19 cases in the areas that are still under restrictions, such has been the case recently, will likely see all restrictions lifted in the near future by the central government and Japan's economy fully brought back on line

Financial issues including banks and insurers found favor, with Dai-ichi Life Holdings adding 2.8%, while Tokio Marine Holdings climbed 4.5%. Sumitomo Mitsui Financial Group and Mitsubishi UFJ Financial Group both ended the day 4.1% higher.

Cyclical issues including steelmakers and shipping lines gained traction on hopes for Japan's economic restart, with JFE Holdings leaping 6.6%, while Nippon Steel jumped 6.8%. Kawasaki Kisen rose 4.7%, while counterpart Mitsui O. S.

K. Lines ended the day 4.9% higher.

Panasonic Corp. surged 7%, after announcing a day earlier that due to healthy demand for its batteries from U. S. partner Tesla Inc., talks were now underway to expand their joint plant in Nevada.

ECONOMIC NEWS: Japan Industrial Production Declines 3.7% On Month In March --Japan industrial production fell a seasonally adjusted 3.7% month-on-month in March, final data from the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry showed on Tuesday. Shipments fell 5.8% in March. According to initial estimate, shipments was down 5%. Inventories grew 1.9% in March, as initially estimated. Inventory ratio gained 8.4% versus the initial estimate of 8.5%. On a yearly basis, industrial production declined 5.2% in March, as estimated. Further, data showed that capacity utilization fell 3.6% on month in March, following a 1.8% decline in the previous month. On an annual basis, capacity utilization decreased 7.6% in March, following a 7.3% fall in the prior month.

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

First Published: Tue, May 19 2020. 17:55 IST