Inflation figures, US data in focus for Tokyo investors
TOKYO: Investors will keep tabs on Japanese inflation figures and hints of supportive government policy next week for key trading cues, as well as the latest US economic data.
The United States is slated to release revised third quarter gross domestic product figures and existing home sales data for October. The numbers will provide more clarity about the health of the world’s top economy, analysts said.
“The US economy will be in good condition if the housing figures turn out well, giving a sense of security to the Japanese market,” said Hiroaki Hiwata, strategist at Toyo Securities.
“I think that investors will also focus on Japan’s consumer price index,” he told AFP, referring to the October inflation figures. Japan will also announce unemployment and consumption data for October next Friday. Yesterday, Tokyo stocks closed at a fresh three-month high as last minute bargain hunting erased losses from earlier in the day. The benchmark index dropped as much as 0.73 percent in intraday trading before recovering into positive territory shortly before the close, rising for the fourth session in a row.
The gains came as uncertainty about the direction of US monetary policy faded to the background on the release of the minutes of the Federal Reserve’s October meeting, said Hiwata, who expects the market to break through the 20,000-point barrier.
The Fed minutes showed US policymakers were increasingly confident in the outlook of the US economy. The Nikkei 225 index at the Tokyo Stock Exchange gained 0.10 percent, or 20.00 points, to 19,879.81. For the week, the index added 1.44 percent.
The wider Topix index of all first-section shares finished up 0.17 percent, or 2.80 points, at 1,603.18. Over the week, the index rose 1.09 percent. “There’s a lack of catalysts for the market but some people might trade to adjust their positions,” Ichiro Yamada, general manager of equities at Fukoku Mutual Life Insurance Co, told Bloomberg News. “If the market is going anywhere, then up is the most likely direction.”
In share trading yesterday, Toyota ended down 0.48 percent at 7,583 yen, while Nissan dropped 0.38 percent to 1,304.5 yen and Sony lost 0.36 percent to 3,285 yen. Embattled electronics maker Sharp soared nearly five percent on media reports Thursday that it expects its TV making business to return to profit next fiscal year.
Sharp, which posted a whopping six-month net loss of nearly $700 million in October, finished up 4.76 percent at 132 yen yesterday. On Thursday, the Bank of Japan kept monetary policy unchanged, saying the world’s number three economy “has continued to recover moderately”, although it admitted exports and output had been hit by a slowdown in overseas economies.
Official data released Monday showed that Japan fell into recession in the six months to September-the second time in Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s near three-year premiership. — AFP