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TOKYO: Japanese rubber futures ended higher for a fourth straight session on Wednesday, helped by upbeat sentiment in domestic equities, although concerns over tepid local automobiles sales capped further gains.

The Osaka Exchange rubber contract for July delivery finished 1.0 yen, or 0.4%, higher at 247.7 yen ($2.2) per kg. The benchmark touched the highest since Jan. 21 of 248.0 yen earlier in the session.

Japan’s benchmark Nikkei share average rose 1.7% on Wednesday as an overnight Wall Street rally improved risk appetite, prompting investors to scoop up stocks sold off last month as well as those with a robust outlook.

Sales of new automobiles slumped in January, adding to growing signs that Japan’s economy could contract in the current quarter due to persistent supply chain disruptions and a surge in Omicron coronavirus cases.

Trade was light as several markets in Asia were closed for a public holiday.

Mainland Chinese markets are shut for a week-long Lunar New Year holiday from Jan. 31.

Singapore’s financial markets are closed for national holidays. Trading will resume on Thursday, Feb. 3.

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