Sun, 25 Sep 2022

TOKYO, Aug. 15 (Xinhua) -- Tokyo stocks rose Monday as investors shrugged off Japan's weaker-than-expected gross domestic product data for the April-June period and made bets on solid corporate earnings and eased inflation concerns.

The 225-issue Nikkei Stock Average added 324.80 points, or 1.14 percent, from Friday to finish at 28,871.78, marking its highest closing level since Jan. 5.

The broader Topix index, meanwhile, closed 11.78 points, or 0.6 percent, higher at 1,984.96.

Dealers here said that data released just before the market opened Monday showing Japan's economy grew an annualized 2.2 percent, compared to median economists' forecasts for an annualized real 2.7 percent expansion in the April-June period, had little bearing on sentiment.

They said this was due to investors' focus for now being drawn to scooping up issues that had lost ground recently yet had reported solid earnings, with sentiment underpinned by Wall Street's rally late last week and U.S. consumer confidence data in August easing concerns about inflation.

"There was optimism in the U.S. equities market in the previous session. That has promoted investors to make bets on stocks that had been sold off but reported strong earnings," Ikuo Mitsui, a fund manager at Aizawa Securities, was quoted as saying.

Investment strategists said that concerns about recession in the U.S. and the prospect of the U.S. Federal Reserve further hiking its interest rates as part of its ongoing aggressive monetary policy to tame rapid inflation had eased somewhat owing to recent economic data.

"Investors were seriously concerned about a recession and prospects for high inflation in the United States," Masahiro Ichikawa, chief market strategist at Sumitomo Mitsui DS Asset Management Co., said, adding that the stock market's "favorable environment" helped raise hopes the Fed will now slow its rate hikes after September.

By the close of play, pharmaceutical, precision instrument, and rubber product issues comprised those that gained the most, and falling issues outpaced rising ones by 912 to 841 on the Prime Market, while 85 ended the day unchanged.

Among Nikkei heavyweights finding favor, Fast Retailing, owner of the Uniqlo clothing store chain, rose 0.9 percent, with the broader market also buoyed by tech investor SoftBank Group jumping 5.2 percent.

Retailers reporting robust earnings and outlooks also advanced, with Pan Pacific International Holdings, operator of discount store Don Quijote, surging 11.5 percent after upwardly revising its profit outlook.

Similarly, drugstore chain Matsumotokiyoshi Holdings Co., Ltd. jumped 5.6 percent after announcing solid quarterly profits, while Peer Sundrug soared 10.1 percent after raising its outlook for dividend payouts.

Conversely, camping gear retailer Snow Peak was a notable loser, plunging 14.8 percent after lowering its profit outlook.

On the Prime Market on Monday, 994.60 million shares changed hands, dropping from Friday's volume of 1,457.93 million shares.

The turnover on the first trading day of the week came to 2,560.18 billion yen (19.19 billion U.S. dollars).

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