Tokyo shares hit 2-1/2 month high on hopes for swift reopening of economy

  • Reuters
  • Stock Market News
Tokyo shares hit 2-1/2 month high on hopes for swift reopening of economy
Credit: © Reuters.

SYDNEY, May 19 (Reuters) - Japanese stocks advanced in line with their Wall Street and Asian peers and hit a two-and-a-half-month high on Tuesday, as encouraging early-stage data for a potential coronavirus vaccine boosted hopes for a swift reopening of the global economy.

The benchmark Nikkei average .N225 gained 1.5% to 20,433.45, its highest closing since March 6.

Data from Moderna Inc's MRNA.O COVID-19 vaccine, the first to be tested in the United States, showed it produced protective antibodies in a small group of healthy volunteers, the company said on Monday. a positive response to this, U.S. stocks jumped on Monday, with the S&P 500 .SPX ending at a 10-week high, while the Dow .DJI and the Nasdaq .IXIC rose 3.9% and 2.4%, respectively. .N

MSCI's broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan .MIAPJ0000PUS last traded up 1.6% in late Asian trade.

Traders said the news of Moderna's success with a potential coronavirus vaccine trial lifted investors' risk appetite globally.

Japan's broader Topix .TOPX climbed 1.8% to 1,486.05, also its highest finish since March 6, with all but one of the 33 sector sub-indexes on the Tokyo exchange trading higher.

Highly cyclical iron and steel .ISTEL.T , sea transport .ISHIP.T and insurance .IINSU.T were the top three performing sectors on the main bourse.

Panasonic Corp 6752.T soared 7.0% after the company said on Monday it was seeing strong demand for battery cells from U.S. partner Tesla Inc TSLA.O and they were in talks to expand their joint plant in Nevada, which is now profitable. were also in demand. Both Mitsubishi UFJ Financial Group (MUFG) 8306.T and Sumitomo Mitsui Financial Group (SMBC) 8316.T climbed 4.1% each, while Dai-ichi Life Holdings 8750.T and Tokio Marine Holdings 8766.T added 2.8% and 4.5%, respectively.

Japan's top oil and gas exploration company Inpex Corp 1605.T rose 3.3% as oil prices climbed to a two month-high on Monday following signs that producers were following through on planned output reductions. O/R

Reflecting investor optimism for Japan's economic reopening, the country's top theme park operator Oriental Land Co Ltd 4661.T gained 5.5%, which has temporarily closed Tokyo Disneyland and DisneySea because of the coronavirus outbreak.

Bucking the overall market, the Nikkei's heavyweight SoftBank Group Corp 9984.T shed 2.8% after it reported a stunning $18 billion loss at its Vision Fund, pushing the tech conglomerate to a record loss and highlighting the deepening crisis at its portfolio companies. the Wall Street Journal reported on Monday the conglomerate was in talks to sell "a significant portion" of its T-Mobile US TMUS.O stake to controlling shareholder Deutsche Telekom AG DTEGn.DE . Sony Corp 6758.T and its financial arm Sony Financial Holdings 8729.T surged 3.3% and 16.9%, respectively, after the Nikkei newspaper reported Sony will turn Sony Financial into a wholly-owned unit through a tender offer worth about 400 billion yen ($3.7 billion). ($1 = 107.4100 yen)

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