TOKYO: Japan’s Nikkei share average jumped 2% on Wednesday, topping the 33,000 psychological level for the first time in nearly two months, amid strong corporate earnings and bets for a more dovish US Federal Reserve.

The Nikkei rallied 1.97% to 33,341.56 by the midday break, with 147 of its 225 components advancing versus 76 that fell, with two flat.

The broader Topix added 0.98%, with an index of growth shares climbing 1.56% to handily outpace a 0.42% gain for value stocks.

Overnight, Wall Street’s big three indexes all posted robust gains, led by the tech-heavy Nasdaq’s 2.13% rally, after softer US consumer inflation data fuelled speculation that the Fed’s tightening cycle had peaked.

The Philadelphia SE semiconductor index surged 3.62%. For the Nikkei, “the ceiling that had been in place around the upper 32,000-level completely gave way after the US CPI, which I think is a very big development for the market,” said Kazuo Kamitani, an equity strategist at Nomura Securities.

Tokyo shares close flat ahead of US data

At the same time, “buying is concentrated around companies that posted favourable earnings,” he added.

But with the earnings season now over in both Japan and the US, the market’s focus will be squarely on the outlook for monetary policy, Kamitani said. Refiner Idemitsu Kosan was far and away the Nikkei’s top percentage gainer, surging about 18% after raising its profit forecast and announcing a share split.

That helped make oil and coal producers the best performer among the Tokyo Stock Exchange’s 33 industry groups, with a 5.4% advance.

Precision machinery makers were next, climbing 3.97% on a boost from medical machinery maker Terumo on the back of strong financial results. Electric machinery, which includes a lot of chip-related shares, was no. 3, rising 2.69%.

Chip-testing equipment maker Advantest jumped 6.3% and chip-making machinery manufacturer Tokyo Electron rose 3.44%.

Other notable winners included startup investor SoftBank Group and Sony, which rose 4.75% and 4.57% respectively.

Uniqlo-owner Fast Retailing added 2.75%, which was enough to make it the Nikkei’s biggest points gainer due to its outsized weighting.


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