Tokyo stocks rose slightly Thursday morning, as tech shares were supported by overnight gains on the technology-heavy Nasdaq index, even though recent record highs of COVID-19 infections in Japan weighed on the market.
The 225-issue Nikkei Stock Average rose 105.62 points, or 0.38 percent, from Wednesday to 27,687.28. The broader Topix index of all First Section issues on the Tokyo Stock Exchange was up 2.78 points, or 0.14 percent, at 1,922.43.
Gainers were led by precision instrument, electric appliance, and glass and ceramics product issues.
The U.S. dollar remained weak in the upper 109 yen range, as the currency was sold on speculation that a fall in U.S. Treasury yields will narrow the interest rate gap between the United States and Japan, dealers said.
At noon, the dollar fetched 109.79-83 yen compared with 109.86-96 yen in New York and 109.97-98 yen in Tokyo at 5 p.m. Wednesday.
The euro was quoted at $1.1853-1857 and 130.16-17 yen against $1.1839-1849 and 130.12-22 yen in New York and $1.1805-1807 and 129.82-86 yen in Tokyo late Wednesday afternoon.
Stocks were supported from the outset by a surge in high-tech shares after its counterparts rose overnight on the Nasdaq index and strong quarterly earnings reports by Japanese companies, including chipmaking equipment supplier Advantest.
"Buying was focused on large-cap shares and chip-related issues, while investors reacted positively to the release of upbeat earnings reports such as by Nissan Motor," said Masahiro Ichikawa, chief market strategist at Sumitomo Mitsui DS Asset Management Co.
The market regained some composure after the U.S. Federal Reserve's two-day policy meeting ended without surprises Wednesday, with Chairman Jerome Powell commenting that the timing of stimulus tapering and rate hikes was yet to be decided as the bank waits for further economic progress in the country.
Meanwhile, the market was top-heavy after Tokyo reported a record number of coronavirus cases for the second consecutive day, confirming 3,177 COVID-19 infections, Ichikawa said.
Japan's daily total COVID-19 cases topped 9,000 for the first time Wednesday, exceeding the previous all-time high set on Jan. 8.
On the First Section, declining issues outnumbered advancers 1,029 to 1,026, while 124 ended the morning unchanged.
Nissan Motor surged 41.4 yen, or 7.0 percent, to 635.1 yen, after the automaker said Wednesday it expects to return to profitability in fiscal 2021 through March for the first time in three years.
Advantest rose 550 yen, or 6.0 percent, to 9,690 yen, after the maker of semiconductor testing devices reported Wednesday upbeat earnings for the April-June quarter, and revised upward its sales and profit forecast for the business year through March 2022.
Among other chip-related issues, Tokyo Electron climbed 700 yen, or 1.6 percent, to 45,080 yen, and Taiyo Yuden advanced 120 yen, or 2.2 percent, to 5,590 yen.
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