Japan's Nikkei inches up on Fast Retailing gain, but market outlook caution sets in

  • Reuters
  • Stock Market News
Japan's Nikkei inches up on Fast Retailing gain, but market outlook caution sets in
Credit: © Reuters.

TOKYO, Feb 18 (Reuters) - Japan's Nikkei inched up on Thursday, led by a sharp jump in Uniqlo-operator Fast Retailing, but gains were capped as investors weighed the sustainability of the benchmark's recent rally above 30,000.

The Nikkei share average .N225 edged up 0.15% to 30,336.69 by 0214 GMT, while the broader Topix .TOPX fell 0.58% to 1950.12. On Monday, Nikkei reclaimed the 30,000 level for the first time since 1990 on rising expectations for a rebound in the economy.

"Investors want to evaluate whether Nikkei's rally to the psychologically important 30,000 mark reflects the real market or not," said Soichiro Matsumoto, chief investment officer Japan at Credit Suisse (SIX: CSGN ) Private Banking.

"They are trying to see if the market maintains the momentum toward the end of the fiscal year in March and beyond."

Apparel maker Fast Retailing 9983.T , up over 4%, was the top gainer on Thursday, contributing to a rise of 152 points, or 0.5% of the index.

Drug makers also rose, with Chugai Pharmaceutical 4519.T gaining 2.31% and Takeda Pharmaceutical 4502.T rising 1.1%.

Optimism around the roll-out of COVID-19 vaccines in Japan buoyed airline stocks, with ANA Holdings 9202.T and Japan Airlines 9201.T jumping 1.94% and 2.21%, respectively.

Chip-related shares fell after the Nasdaq .IXIC closed lower overnight. Japan's Nidec 6594.T fell 1.81%, Renesas Electronics 6723.T slipped 1.46% and Advantest 6857.T fell 1.99%.

The underperformers among the top 30 core Topix were Hitachi 6501.T , which fell 2.39%, followed by Mitsubishi UFJ Financial Group 8306.T losing 1.87%.

There were 55 advancers on the Nikkei index against 167 decliners.

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