Nikkei hits 30-year high on expanded US stimulus hopes

Tokyo — Japan’s Nikkei share average ended at a more than three-decade high on Tuesday, as risk appetite improved on hopes that a long-awaited US pandemic relief package would be expanded.

The benchmark Nikkei share average rose 2.66% to 27,568.15, its highest closing level since August 16 1990, while also posting its biggest daily gain since mid-June.

The broader Topix gained 1.74% to 1,819.18, its best closing since October 2018.

“Investors buying stocks today are making new positions for 2021,” said Takashi Hiroki, chief strategist at Monex Securities.

Overnight, major Wall Street indices notched record highs as optimism for an economic recovery increased following US President Donald Trump’s signing of a $2.3-trillion pandemic aid bill. The US House of Representatives voted on Monday to meet Trump’s demand for stimulus payments of $2,000 to qualified Americans, sending the measure on to the Senate for a vote.

Investors also re-recognised other catalysts from this month, such as dovish monetary policies from central banks in Japan, the US and Europe, as well as a string of positive vaccine news, said Kiyoshi Ishigane, chief fund manager at Mitsubishi UFJ Kokusai Asset Management.

“While the speed will likely not be as fast as the one in the November rally, I think there is enough possibility that the market will remain strong for the next one to two months,” he said.

All but two of the 33 sector sub-indices on the Tokyo exchange traded higher. Highly cyclical airlines and land transport were among the top gainers on the main bourse.

Among the top percentage gainers in Nikkei, Sumitomo Dainippon Pharma jumped 16.24%, followed by IHI and Yokogawa Electric, up 6.17% and 5.11%, respectively.

Elsewhere, Nitori Holdings rose 1.37% as the furniture retailer completed its tender offer for Shimachu. Shares of Shimachu lost 0.36%.

The Mothers index of start-up firm shares rose 2.6%, hitting a one-week high.