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Japan Market rises on Covid-19 vaccine progress

Capital Market 

Japan share market finished session higher on Thursday, 26 November 2020, as investor sentiment boosted amid optimism about the economic recovery due to recent positive coronavirus vaccine news.

At closing bell, the 225-issue Nikkei Stock Average advanced 240.45 points, or 0.91%, to 26,537.31, the best finish since April 19, 1991. The broader Topix index of all First Section issues on the Tokyo Stock Exchange added 10.58 points, or 0.6%, to 1,778.25.

The market opened moderately lower, but stocks quickly returned to positive terrain as investors stepped up buying the dip in anticipation of a long-lasting economic recovery amid optimism about the recent positive news regarding coronavirus vaccines.

Positive momentum in the race for a coronavirus vaccine has boosted the Tokyo share market. Earlier this week, AstraZeneca announced that interim analysis showed its vaccine has an average efficacy of 70% in protecting against the virus. This follows late-stage trial data from Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna showing that their respective Covid-19 vaccines were around 95% effective.

Chipmaking gear maker Tokyo Electron and medical information provider M3 jumped 3.3% and 4.4% to rewrite their respective year-to-date highs. Among other upbeat tech names were growth business investor SoftBank Group, mobile carrier KDDI and internet advertising firm CyberAgent. On the other hand, Japan Airlines tumbled 8% on the delivery day for publicly offered new shares.

Cyclicals, such as transport stocks, also met with selling.

ECONOMIC NEWS: The Bank of Japan's total balance of assets hit a new record in the fiscal first half from April to September as it pumped money aggressively into the economy to cushion the blow from the coronavirus pandemic, its balance sheet data showed on Thursday. The central bank held a total of 690 trillion yen ($6.6 trillion) in assets as of end-September, up 21% from a year ago and nearly 1.3 times the size of Japan's economy. The increase was largely due to the introduction in March through May of a range of lending schemes aimed at easing corporate funding strains caused by the pandemic. Loans extended during April-September more than doubled from year-before levels at 105 trillion yen, the data showed. The BOJ's holdings of exchange-traded funds (ETF) also rose to a record 34 trillion yen, as it accelerated purchases when markets took a hit from the spread of COVID-19. The ETF holdings booked unrealised profits of 5.8 trillion yen, the second largest on record, thanks to a rebound in the stock market later in the year, the data showed. The BOJ eased policy twice this year, mainly by ramping up asset purchases and creating a scheme aimed at funneling funds to cash-strapped firms hit by COVID-19.

CURRENCY NEWS: The Japanese yen traded at 104.39 per dollar, having weakened from levels below 104 against the greenback this week.

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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: Thu, November 26 2020. 15:16 IST