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Tokyo stocks end slightly higher on upbeat US retail sales data

Tokyo stocks end slightly higher on upbeat US retail sales data A pedestrian wearing a face mask walks past an electronic board displaying the closing numbers of Nikkei 225 index in Tokyo on November 9, 2020, as Asian markets react to results of the US presidential election. (AFP/Behrouz MEHRI )
News Desk
Tokyo, Japan   ●   Fri, April 16, 2021 2021-04-16 17:50 20 559f5bc8c5224ad06a25184c0a3c3cc7 2 Business Japan,economy,stocks,Covid Free

Tokyo stocks ended slightly higher Friday on expectations for a US economic recovery after upbeat retail sales data for March, but concerns over the outlook for Japanese corporate earnings weighed on the market.

The 225-issue Nikkei Stock Average ended up 40.68 points, or 0.14 percent, from Thursday at 29,683.37. The broader Topix index of all First Section issues on the Tokyo Stock Exchange finished 1.74 points, or 0.09 percent, higher at 1,960.87.

Gainers were led by mining, insurance and air transportation issues.

The US dollar was firm in the upper 108 yen range as investors bought the currency on expectations of a US economic recovery after the retail sales data released overnight beat market expectations.

Stocks drew buying after the Dow Jones Industrial Average hit a fresh record high overnight on hopes for an economic recovery.

But investors remained wary ahead of a Japanese earnings reports season due to concerns their expectations for the earnings outlook for the year through March 2022 may be too high and the actual figures could disappoint, brokers said.

Shares are prone to be sold under such circumstances, brokers said, citing drops for Yaskawa Electric Corp. shares earlier this week despite the company's April 9 projection of a 54.5 percent jump in its group net operating profit in the year through February 2022.

"After seeing what has happened to Yaskawa shares, investors became anxious," said Koichi Fujishiro, a senior economist at the Dai-ichi Life Research Institute.

"The US economy has been recovering strongly, but the number of Japanese companies that can benefit from it is limited to such firms as automakers and semiconductor-related businesses. The pace of recovery in domestic demand in Japan has been slow," Fujishiro said.

On the First Section, declining issues outnumbered advancers 1,051 to 1,021, while 118 ended unchanged.

Oil-related companies were higher on recent rises in US crude oil futures. Explorer Inpex climbed 22 yen, or 2.9 percent, to 776 yen and Japan Petroleum Exploration rose 40 yen, or 1.9 percent, to 2,121 yen.

Toshiba dropped 295 yen, or 6.0 percent, to 4,600 yen following media reports the Japanese industrial conglomerate is considering rejecting a buyout offer from British private equity firm CVC Capital Partners.

Trading volume on the main section fell to 909.15 million shares from Thursday's 941.38 million shares.