The stock market in Japan ended in positive territory on Friday, led by automakers and exporters on increasing optimism about global recovery. Trading activity was muted as most of the markets in the region are closed for holidays.
Strong closing on Wall Street led by preliminary quarterly results from Wells Fargo and better-than-expected economic data lifted the market sentiment in the market helping the Nikkei cross the 9,000-mark in early trading. However, financial stocks slumped after the second largest bank, Sumitomo Mitsui unexpectedly reported a loss for last year and also stated that it may sell new shares to shore up the capital, limiting the gains in the market.
On Thursday, the Dow closed up 246.27 points or 3.14% at 8,083, the Nasdaq closed up 61.88 points or 3.89% at 1,653 and the S&P 500 closed up 31.40 points or 3.81% at 857.
The New York Mercantile Exchange is closed on the eve of Good Friday. Light sweet crude for May delivery rose about 6% or $2.86 to $52.34 a barrel on Thursday, following better-than-expected results from retailers suggesting a possible rise in consumer spending.
The benchmark Nikkei 225 Index, having opened higher at 9,041 compared to its previous close of 8,916, ended at 8,964, up 48.05 points or 0.54%, and the broader Topix index of all First Section Issues gained 4.16 points to close at 846.
On the economic front, the Bank of Japan reported that M2, which measures the supply of money, increased 2.2% year-on-year during March to a daily average balance of 746.3 trillion yen. M2 rose 0.1% from previous month, the bank noted. The central bank further stated that M3, broader measure of money supply, increased 1.3% year over year during March to 1,044.6 trillion yen, and 0.1% higher from previous month.
Automakers ended higher on hopes of global recovery. Honda Motor gained 1.05%, Hino Motors advanced 5.84% and Isuzu Motors soared 12.32%. Toyota Motor remained unchanged from previous close.
Among the major exporters, Canon added 2.91%, Sony advanced 4.23% and Sharp gained 2.22%. Trading houses are ended in positive territory. Mitsubishi Corp. moved up 2.66%, Sumitomo Corp. gained 1.85% and Itochu advanced 2.64%.
Oil stocks also ended in positive territory. Inpex gained 1.45%, Showa Shell advanced 2.34%, and Nippon Oil rose 4.55%.
Financials slumped following concerns about the viability of the U.S banks.Unexpected loss declared by Sumitomo Mitsui for the quarter and plans to sell new shares to shore up captial also weighed on the market. Sumitomo Mitsui Financial, which reported a net loss of 390 billion yen, or $3.84 billion, plunged 13.85%. Mitsubishi UFJ lost 0.96%, Mizuho Financial fell 9.89%, and Resona Holdings dropped 3.63%.
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