Stocks rose on the Tokyo Stock Exchange this week giving the Tokyo market a strong start, catching up with U.S. and other overseas counterparts.
The dollar's upswing versus the yen, which reflects receding expectations for an imminent interest rate cut by the Federal Reserve, provided an additional boost to the market, brokers said.
"The better-than-expected employment data eased worries about the U.S. economic outlook," said Hiroichi Nishi, equity general manager at Nikko Cordial Securities Inc. "But there were few domestic incentives to support the Tokyo market and turnover remained slack. So, many players chose to cash in profits before Japan's fiscal first-half earnings reporting season swings into full gear next week."
Kenichi Hirano, equity general manager at Tachibana Securities Co., pointed out that the market is vulnerable to selling as the recent upturn is providing long-awaited profit-taking opportunities to investors who bought stocks three to six months ago, before the U.S. subprime mortgage market meltdown rattled the global financial markets this summer.
"It will take some time before the market fully absorbs the profit-taking pressure," said Hirano. "But given the improving overseas market environment, the Tokyo market is certain to stay in a long-term uptrend."
Consumer loan companies Promise, Aiful and Takefuji advanced, thanks apparently to short covering by hedge funds.
Meanwhile, Nippon Steel, JFE and Sumitomo Metal Industries slipped, due to speculation that the commercialization of carbon fiber automotive parts may reduce demand for steel. The recent downturn in crude oil prices pushed down Inpex, AOC and Nippon Oil.