TOKYO, Jan 4, (Pakistan Point News - APP - 04th Jan, 2017 ) - Tokyo shares surged Wednesday on the first trading day of 2017, following gains on Wall Street driven by optimism over the US economy. The dollar's rise also perked up sentiment, with analysts expecting the Japanese market to gain further through the year. The benchmark Nikkei 225 index at the Tokyo Stock Exchange gained 2.51 percent, or 479.79 points, to close at 19,594.16, its highest finish in 13 months.
The broader Topix index of all first-section issues also added 2.36 percent, or 35.87 points, to 1,554.48. Japanese markets were closed Monday and Tuesday. The Dollar, meanwhile, rose to 118.12 Yen from 117.75 in New York overnight and sharply higher from 116.80 seen in Tokyo on Friday, before Japanese traders went on holiday. The Nikkei should continue its ascent through 2017 on Japan's improving economic fundamentals and better supply-demand conditions, said Nomura Securities.
"We see the Nikkei-225 at 20,500-21,000 at end-2017," the brokerage said in a note. Global optimism for further growth drove up a wide range of Asian shares as the new trading year began, thanks to a series of healthy indicators particularly from the United States. "Strong sentiment at the start of the year coupled with volatility could be what 2017 has in store for the markets," Jingyi Pan, a market strategist at IG Asia, said in a note, according to Bloomberg News.
Japan, the United States and emerging markets should lead overall growth, said Junichi Makino, economist at SMBC Nikko Securities. Risks remained, however, with China and Europe, he wrote in a note to clients. "The Chinese risks refer to a weak Yuan risk and a macroeconomic risk," he said. "European risks are about elections," he said, referring to a series of major votes, including for president in France and the Netherlands, in the context of a rise in populist parties.
"Currently, risks with China are more significant. A weak yuan requires close attention," he said. In Tokyo, troubled auto parts maker Takata shot up 17.50 percent or 150 points to 1,007, building on gains seen at the end of last year. Investors continued to welcome news that the Tokyo-based firm was nearing a settlement with US authorities in connection with allegations of criminal wrongdoing related to its faulty air bags. Automaker Honda gained 4.56 percent to 3,571. mobile carrier SoftBank, meanwhile, added 2.96 percent to 7,995. Market heavyweight Fast Retailing, operator of casual fashion chain Uniqlo, also climbed 3.49 percent to 43,290.