Tuesday, March 28, 2023
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Japan’s Nikkei hits 7-week high after third consecutive day of gains

Japanese shares rose for the third consecutive day on Wednesday, though gains were limited amid a slide in U.S. futures as domestic investors weighed unexpectedly weak earnings from technology giants Alphabet Inc and Microsoft.

Japan’s Nikkei share average rose 0.67% and climbed above 27,500 for the first time since Sept. 20. It declined slightly in the afternoon and ended the day at 27,431.84, still its highest close in nearly seven weeks.

The broader Topix index climbed 0.58%.

“The Nikkei has been steadily advancing and there seem to be a lot of people who want to take profits,” said Ryuta Otsuka, a strategist at Toyo Securities.

“As Japanese companies are starting to report earnings, many domestic investors and others want to see the results, so they’re likely to hold off on aggressive trading,” he said.

While the Philadelphia semiconductor index rose 2.26% overnight, Nasdaq e-mini futures were down 1.96%, falling after earnings from Microsoft Corp and Google parent Alphabet Inc came in below Wall Street expectations.

The lacklustre results also pushed S&P 500 e-mini futures down almost 1%, suggesting traders expect the U.S. stock market to open deep in negative territory on Wednesday.

Risk sentiment was dampened amid Japanese semiconductor stocks as well, with chipmaking equipment maker Tokyo Electron Inc falling 0.68%.

Peer Lasertec Corp fell 1.14% while chipmaker Renesas Electronics Corp was down 2.14%.

“Tokyo Electron and others seem to have been affected [by Alphabet and Microsoft],” said Toyo’s Otsuka. “If hypergrowth stocks are still adjusting, the negative difference in high-tech stocks may well affect the Nikkei share average.”

The best performer in the Nikkei index was Denka Co Ltd , which jumped 6.37%, after the chemical products manufacturer announced results and its plans to transfer its cement business to Taiheiyo Cement Corp.

Shipping companies made some of the biggest losses. Mitsui O.S.K. Lines Ltd lost 3.22%, Kawasaki Kisen Kaisha Ltd was down 3.01% and Nippon Yusen KK dropped 2.69%.

Toshiba Corp fell 1.66% late in the day after Kyodo news agency reported a consortium intending to buy the tech conglomerate would likely miss a deadline to secure loans for the deal. The stock had previously traded 0.38% higher.

All Nikkei sectors gained except energy, which declined 0.9%, and utilities, which lost 0.23%. Of the index’s 225 constituents, 131 advanced, 89 fell and five traded flat.

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