The Japan share market advanced on Wednesday, 12 February 2020, , as investors took heart from positive lead from Wall Street overnight after signs of a slowdown of new cases of COVID-19 in China and hopes that the Fed would ease policy if a global economic shock from the coronavirus made its way to U. S. shores. Around late afternoon, the 225-issue Nikkei Stock Average advanced 123.52 points, or 0.52%, to 23,809.50, while the broader Topix index of all First Section issues on the Tokyo Stock Exchange eased 2.30 points, or 0.13%, at 1,717.34. Japanese financial markets closed on Tuesday for a public holiday.
The Japanese market got some encouragement from Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell. In remarks to Congress on Tuesday, Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell, while positive about the American economic outlook, said the central bank is keeping a close eye on fallout from the epidemic, which continues to disrupt travel and trade and global economic growth.
Investors have attributed the bullish trading in stocks to hopes that the Fed would ease policy if a global economic shock from the coronavirus made its way to U. S. shores.
China remained mostly closed for business Tuesday. China's National Health Commission on Tuesday said in its daily update that 108 deaths were reported in the previous 24 hours, bringing the total to 1,016 deaths in mainland China since the disease emerged in December. The number of new, confirmed cases fell to 2,478 from 3,062 a day earlier, bringing the total to 42,638 on the mainland, including some of whom have since recovered and been released from treatment.
Shares of index heavyweight and conglomerate Softbank Group jumped 12.3% after a judge stateside approved a merger between T-Mobile and Sprint. Softbank is a majority shareholder of Sprint.
CURRENCY NEWS: The Japanese yen, often viewed as a safe-haven currency in times of economic uncertainty, little softer against a basket of currencies. The Japanese yen traded at 109.81 against the dollar after seeing levels around 109.9 yesterday.
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