Nikkei rises as glass firms, department stores gain on upbeat earnings

TOKYO, April 13 (Reuters) - Japanese shares rose on Tuesday, led by gains in stocks of glass product companies and department store operators after their robust earnings, though concerns about rising domestic COVID-19 cases undermined travel-related shares.

Nikkei share average rose 1.0% to 29,840.04, holding above key support levels from its 25-day, and 50-day moving average, at 29,507 and 29,442.

The broader Topix gained 0.54% to 1,965.08, but it moved in a tight range it has hugged over the past several sessions.

AGC rose 3.6%, briefly hitting a 10-year high, after the glass product maker revised up its earnings outlook and dividend forecasts.

The Tokyo Stock Exchange’s glass and ceramic index the top performer among its 33 industry subindexes, as rival Nippon Sheet Glass gained 5.7% on hopes of strong earnings.

Takashimaya gained 4.3% after the department store chain operator announced a larger-than-expected profit in the current financial year after a dismal year hit by the pandemic.

That boosted shares of its competitors including J.Front Retailing and Isetan Mitsukoshi, which rose 3.0% and 2.3%, respectively.

Hopes of vaccine rollouts also helped to underpin department store shares, but rising concerns about a surge in domestic COVID-19 cases hit travel-related sectors.

West Japan Railway fell 1.3%, while Tokyo Disney Resort operator Oriental Land lost 1.2%.

Airline shares fell 1.5% to become the worst-performing industry subindex.

Japan late last week placed Tokyo under a new, month-long state of “quasi-emergency” to combat surging COVID-19 infections.

Yaskawa Electric, seen as industry bellwether, also edged down 0.4% a day after it fell 7.1%, its biggest in more than a year, after its earnings failed to meet investors’ expectations.

“Yaskawa’s reaction seems to epitomise the entire market. There was nothing wrong with its earnings but people have been already expecting a strong recovery and that may be already priced in,” said Hiroyuki Ueno, senior strategist at Sumitomo Mitsui Trust Asset Management.

Reporting by Hideyuki Sano; Editing by Rashmi Aich