Nikkei hits 5-week high on hopes of U.S. economy re-opening, cyclicals jump

  • Reuters
  • Stock Market News
Nikkei hits 5-week high on hopes of U.S. economy re-opening, cyclicals jump

SYDNEY, April 17 (Reuters) - Japan's share benchmark Nikkei climbed to its highest levels in more than five weeks on Friday, tracking gains in U.S. futures, supported by President Donald Trump's guidelines for re-opening the economy and on reports of a potential coronavirus treatment.

The Nikkei average .N225 gained as much as 3.1% to 19,892.96, its intraday high since March 11, and ended the morning session 2.6% higher at 19,782.35.

The Nikkei's volatility index .JNIV , a measure of investors' volatility expectations based on option pricing and considered to be a fear gauge, dropped to as low as 35.31, its six-week low.

U.S. stock futures jumped in Asian trade after Trump unveiled guidelines for re-opening the economy and a report of promising early data related to a potential COVID-19 treatment from Gilead Sciences Inc GILD.O , with S&P 500 e-minis ESc1 last trading up 3.3%. Semiconductor Manufacturing Co Ltd (TSMC) 2330.TW , the world's largest contract chipmaker whose clients include iPhone maker Apple Inc AAPL.O , reported a near doubling in first-quarter net profit. a positive cue from this, Tokyo-listed chipmaking-related stocks were in demand, with chip-making gear manufacturer Tokyo Electron Ltd 8035.T rising 3.7% and test device maker Advantest Corp 6857.T soaring 5.1%.

The broader Topix .TOPX advanced 1.3% to 1,440.25, with all but five of the 33 sector sub-indexes on the Tokyo exchange trading higher.

Highly cyclical iron and steel .ISTEL.T , transport equipment .ITEQP.T and sea transport .ISHIP.T were the top three performing indexes on the main bourse.

Nippon Steel Corp 5401.T gained 4.6% and JFE Steel's parent JFE Holdings Inc 5411.T climbed 5.6%.

Honda Motor Co Ltd 7267.T surged 7.1%, while Nissan Motor Co Ltd 7201.T and Mazda Motor Corp 7261.T added 3.4% and 4.6%, respectively.

The market largely shrugged off a larger-than-expected fall of 6.8% year-on-year in China's gross domestic product (GDP) data for the January-March quarter.

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