Japan’s Nikkei posts biggest point gain for fiscal year

By Thomson Reuters Mar 29, 2024 | 3:27 AM

TOKYO (Reuters) – Japan’s Nikkei share average ended higher on Friday, driven by chip-related heavyweights, and posted a record fiscal-year gain in terms of points amid heavy foreign buying.

The index hit successive record highs this month, after breaking levels on Feb. 22 last seen in 1989 during the country’s bubble economy.

The rally was supported by foreign buying on a weaker yen and expectation that the Bank of Japan will stick with loose monetary policy.

The index rallied 12,328 points in the fiscal year ending on Friday, marking its biggest gain on an absolute basis. It rose 44% in the year, the most since the financial year ended March 2021.

On Friday, the Nikkei ended up 0.5% at 40,369.44, recouping some of the previous session’s losses.

“Investors remain cautious over a possible intervention in the currency market but overall they take the weak yen as a positive factor for domestic stocks,” said Fumio Matsumoto, chief strategist at Okasan Securities.

The yen fell to a 34-year low against the dollar this week, prompting local authorities to hold an emergency meeting, a sign Tokyo is moving closer to intervening in the market.

The Japanese yen was last flat at 151.40 per dollar.

Chip-related Tokyo Electron and Advantest rose 0.79% and 1.85%, respectively.

The property sector jumped 1.96%, adding 16% this month, the most among sectors. The sector has been underpinned by a government survey released this week that showed land prices in the country rose at the fastest pace in 33 years in 2023.

Optimism that the Bank of Japan will not raise interest rates rapidly supports their stock prices, Okasan Securities Matsumoto said.

The broader Topix rose 0.61% to 2,768.62 on Friday.

(Reporting by Junko Fujita, additional reporting by Noriyuki Hirata; Editing by Mrigank Dhaniwala and Subhranshu Sahu)