Nikkei jumps despite wait-and-see mood

Stocks jumped on the Tokyo Stock Exchange on Friday, though a wait-and-see mood prevailed prior to the release of key economic data abroad.

The Nikkei 225 stock average climbed 122.29 points, or 0.63 percent, to end at the day’s high of 19,435.08. On Thursday, the key market gauge advanced 277.95 points. The Topix index of all first-section issues was up 9.99 points, or 0.64 percent, to close at 1,564.16, after rising 25.18 points the previous day.

After opening slightly lower, the key indexes popped up into positive territory on the heels of a rise in U.S. equities overnight Thursday.

Stocks advanced toward the close although brokers noted that profit-taking and selling on the rise hit the market when the Nikkei jumped to around 19,400. Active buying was held in check, however, prior to the release later Friday of U.S. government employment data for March.

Investor sentiment was shored up after Nomura Asset Management Co. launched a large-scale stock investment trust fund on Friday. Buying on dips also drove up the market on hopes that Tokyo stocks will rise again as a correction phase since late March substantially decreased a sense of market overheating.

But investors “found it difficult to decide whether to step up purchases or sell shares without seeing the key U.S. data,” said Masashi Oguchi of Mito Securities Co. The perception that the U.S. Federal Reserve will raise interest rates in September, not in June, is likely to grow if the data turns out worse than the market’s consensus, Oguchi said.

Brokers noted the market’s consensus estimate for the March U.S. jobs report is an increase in nonfarm payrolls of 250,000.

Rising issues outnumbered falling ones 1,192 to 553 on the first section. Volume decreased to 1.7 billion shares from Thursday’s 2.3 billion.

Kewpie rocketed 12.85 percent to rewrite its listing to date high, a day after the mayonnaise-maker announced its brisk quarterly earnings.

Sony surged 3.42 percent following a newspaper report Friday that its structural reform is likely to push up its group operating profit for the year to March 2016 by at least ¥60 billion.

Other winners included mobile game site operator DeNA, clothing retailer Fast Retailing and tire maker Bridgestone.

On the other hand, mega-bank groups Mitsubishi UFJ, Sumitomo Mitsui and Mizuho were lower. Also on the minus side were drug makers Eisai and Takeda as well as trading houses Mitsubishi and Mitsui.

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