Tokyo investors eye Japan, US data in last trading week of 2015
Japanese factory output and US consumer confidence are among the few trading cues in the last trading week of the year, with Tokyo’s Nikkei 225 on track to be one of the best-performing major stock indices globally.
The Japanese market is open from Monday through Wednesday in what is expected to be quiet trading in a holiday-shortened week.
On Friday, Tokyo closed lower, as a strong yen dented exporters, with most Asian markets shut for a public holiday.
However, Chinese shares rose on stimulus expectations, though gains were limited by the lack of trading enthusiasm as the year end approached, dealers said.
The benchmark Shanghai Composite Index added 0.43 per cent, or 15.42 points, to 3,627.91. It rose 1.37 per cent over the week.
The Shenzhen Composite Index, which tracks stocks on China’s second exchange, gained 0.57 per cent, or 13.36 points, to 2,359.73. It climbed 1.03 per cent during the week.
Taiwan added 0.47 per cent. Most other regional financial markets were closed.
Tokyo was dragged down by a stronger yen — bad news for exporters’ profitability — as the dollar slipped to 120.11 yen against 120.28 yen on Thursday in New York.
“The yen is back where it was before US interest rates were raised,” Nomura strategist Juichi Wako told Bloomberg News.
“The fact that markets aren’t pricing in the next interest rate hike in the US is the biggest factor” for the dollar’s weakness, Wako said.
The Nikkei 225 slipped 0.11 per cent, or 20.63 points, to 18,769.06 by the close. Over a holiday shortened week, it lost 1.15 per cent.
Japanese markets were closed on Wednesday for a public holiday.
The broader Topix index of all first-section shares dropped 0.49 per cent, or 7.43 points, to 1,516.19. It was down 1.36 per cent this week.
With just a few days left of 2015 trading, the Nikkei is among the best-performing stock markets globally, rising 7.55 per cent since the start of the year. The Topix index is up 7.72 per cent since the end of 2014.
Shortly before markets opened on Friday, official figures showed Japan’s inflation rate ticked higher in November — the first gain in five months — but still-weak household spending weighed on the world’s number three economy.
In share trading, Mitsubishi Heavy Industries dropped 4.64 per cent to 517.5 yen after it said on Thursday it was postponing delivery of the first made-in-Japan passenger jet by one year to the second quarter of 2018.
The company cited “several issues” discovered after the jet’s maiden test flight last month. Toshiba fell 1.81 per cent to 216.6 yen after its chief executive told the leading Nikkei business daily that the crisis-hit firm may deepen the scope of its restructuring.