April 27, 2018 / 6:45 AM / 7 months ago

Nikkei hits near 3-month high, tech shares rally; posts biggest monthly gain since Oct

TOKYO, April 27 (Reuters) - Japanese stocks rose to near three-month highs on Friday as chip-related firms rallied after brisk earnings forecasts from Advantest and Kyocera, helping the index to post the biggest monthly gain since last October.

The Nikkei share average ended 0.7 percent up at 22,467.87, the highest closing level since early February, on the last trading day of April. Markets will be closed on Monday in Japan for a national holiday.

For the week, the Nikkei gained 1.4 percent and posted a fifth straight weekly gain, the longest winning streak since last fall. The index rose 4.7 percent for the month, the biggest monthly rise since last October.

The market has been supported by a weaker yen, earnings hopes and more recently on easing worries over a full-scale China-U.S. trade war.

Earlier Friday, the Bank Of Japan kept policy steady but ditched a timeframe it had set for hitting an inflation target, in a surprise move analysts say is aimed at keeping market expectations for more stimulus in check.

The BOJ's policy review had little sway on the stock market, but analysts say that investors are focused on the governor's comments after the market close.

"There are two ways to see this. Investors can expect easing to continue when there is no timeframe for an inflation target. But the market is also left wondered what the BOJ will do while other central banks around the world are tightening," said Yutaka Miura, a senior technical analyst at Mizuho Securities.

"The stock market has yet to digest the implication."

Semiconductor equipment maker Advantest and Kyocera , which makes electronic devices, jumped 14 percent and 13 percent, respectively, after forecasting strong profits this fiscal year. Kyocera also announced a share buyback plan.

In sharp contrast, industrial robot maker Fanuc Corp tumbled 9.3 percent after the company said it expects annual operating profit to fall 34 percent to 151.7 billion yen ($1.4 billion), citing trade friction and lean investment in technology.

The broader Topix advanced 0.3 percent to 1,777.23. (Editing by Shri Navaratnam)

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