Nikkei hits 14-month high; value stocks jump on trade deal bets

  • Reuters
  • Stock Market News
Nikkei hits 14-month high; value stocks jump on trade deal bets
Credit: © Reuters.

By Hideyuki Sano

TOKYO, Dec 13 (Reuters) - Japan's Nikkei share average jumped to a 14-month high on Friday, boosted by gains in value stocks such as banks and steelmakers on hopes of a U.S.-China trade deal heralding robust global growth.

The Nikkei 225 index .N225 surged 2.55% to end at 24,023.10, hitting its highest levels since October last year and marking its biggest daily gain in 10 months.

The index made a decisive break above a resistance around 23,600. Its next target is seen at 24,448, a 27-year peak marked on Oct. 2 last year.

The broader Topix .TOPX gained 1.59% to 1,739.98 in heavy volume, with turnover reaching 3.442 trillion yen ($31.68 billion), the highest level this year.

The United States has agreed to suspend some tariffs on Chinese goods and reduce others, sources said, in return for Beijing's pledge to hike purchases of U.S. farm products in 2020. weren't expecting the U.S. to reduce the existing tariffs, so if that is true, that would be an additional surprise," said Hiroyuki Ueno, senior strategist at Sumitomo Mitsui Trust Asset Management.

Investors rushed to buy value stocks, which have been left undervalued compared to growth stocks that have high valuations because of strong growth expectations, betting that a Sino-U.S. trade deal could stabilise the global economy and benefit many companies rather than a selected few.

Financial shares, long hit by low and negative interest rates, saw sharp gains, with banking sector index .IBNKS.T gaining 2.6% and insurer index .IINSU.T rising 2.3%.

The country's top three banking groups — Mitsubishi UFJ 8306.T , Sumitomo Mitsui Financial Group 8316.T and Mizuho 8411.T — rose more than 2%.

Among insurers, Tokio Marine 8766.T rose 2.3% to a record high, while Dai-ichi Life 8750.T gained 3.5%.

Other "old economy" shares also outperformed, with non-ferrous metals .INFRO.T rising 3.2% and shipping companies .ISHIP.T adding 2.9%.

On the other hand, chip-related shares, which have risen in recent weeks on signs of a bottoming-out of the highly volatile technology sector, climbed further on the trade news.

Tokyo Electron 8035.T jumped 5.9%, while Yaskawa Electric 6506.T added 5.4% and Shin-etsu Chemical 4503.T advanced 4.3%.

Chip-making equipment maker NuFlare Technology 6256.T gained 11.7% after Hoya Corp 7741.T announced a counter-bid for the firm.

Toshiba Corp 6502.T owns 52.4% of NuFlare and has said it hopes to buy the rest of the company in a corporate restructuring. Sushi 2695.T dropped 4.1% after the sushi restaurant chain operator reported a larger-than-expected fall in earnings in the financial year ended October and gave a soft guidance for the current year. = 108.6400 yen)

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