Stocks staged a rebound Thursday, helped by buying on dips and buybacks after the previous day’s fall.
The Nikkei 225 average rose 48.24 points to end at 18,751.84. On Wednesday, the key market gauge lost 111.56 points.
The Topix closed up 6.71 points at 1,523.72 a day after falling 9.82 points.
The TSE opened lower on the heels of an overnight drop in New York stocks, which was attributed to worse than expected jobs data for February released by Automatic Data Processing Inc.
After the initial selling ran its course, the key indexes popped up into positive territory thanks to buying on dips by investors who failed to buy during the market’s recent rapid gains, brokers said.
The market’s upside was capped in the afternoon, however, in the absence of fresh incentives and on the back of poor performances of Asian equities, brokers said.
Still, stock prices were underpinned by purchases on persistent hopes for a recovery in Japanese corporate earnings, brokers said.
Asian equities outside Japan came under selling pressure after Premier Li Keqiang announced a cut in China’s gross domestic product growth target for 2015 to around 7.0 percent from some 7.5 percent for 2014 at a session of the National People’s Congress, which kicked off Thursday morning.
The news briefly drove down the Nikkei average into minus territory in the afternoon, but the index soon rebounded into the plus side due to buying on dips and hopes for purchases by pension funds, brokers said.
The TSE has been supported by growing expectations that the rate of profit increase at Japanese companies in fiscal 2015 will be higher than at U.S. and European companies thanks to the weaker yen and falling crude oil prices, brokers said.
“Now is the time for the market to cool down a sense of overheating and prepare for another rally,” said Hiroaki Hiwada, senior strategist in the investment research division of Toyo Securities Co.
Rising issues outnumbered falling ones 927 to 794 in the first section, while 139 issues were unchanged.
Volume decreased to 1.824 billion shares from 2.137 billion Wednesday.
Eisai surged 7.15 percent and rewrote its listing-to-date high for the first time in some eight years and two months. Peer Takeda gained ground. In addition to specific incentives for individual drugmaker issues, brokers pointed to purchases aimed at securing annual dividends.
Kansai Electric shot up 4.39 percent following a news report Wednesday that it is likely to post a consolidated recurrent profit of some ¥100 billion for the year to March 2016 in view of expected electricity rate hikes and the possible restart of nuclear reactors.
By contrast, mobile carrier KDDI, tire maker Bridgestone, clothing retailer Fast Retailing and realtor Mitsui Fudosan were downbeat.
Other major losers included optical equipment maker Olympus and automakers Toyota and Suzuki.
In index futures trading on the Osaka Exchange, the key March contract on the Nikkei average rose 110 points to end at 18,760.