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Tokyo: Stocks close higher on vaccine news


[TOKYO] Tokyo stocks closed higher on Tuesday but lost some of their early steam after tracking global markets, which rallied on news that a coronavirus vaccine had shown 90 per cent effectiveness.

The benchmark Nikkei 225 index opened more than 1.5 per cent higher, but briefly dipped into negative territory in the afternoon before ending up 0.26 per cent or 65.75 points at 24,905.59.

The broader Topix index climbed 1.12 per cent or 18.90 points to 1,700.80.

"Traders were cautious in the afternoon session as (Tokyo shares) were soaring quickly in a short period of time," Okasan Online Securities chief strategist Yoshihiro Ito said in a commentary.

With spiking coronavirus cases worldwide forcing millions of people to face new restrictions, news that a vaccine might be coming soon offered hope the economy could begin to return to normal in coming months.

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In Tokyo, airline shares soared on expectations for the resumption of economic activity.

Japan Airlines shot 21.20 per cent higher to 1,989 yen, while rival ANA Holdings jumped 18.06 per cent to 2,660 yen.

Automakers were also higher, with Toyota rising 1.31 per cent to 7,267 yen and Honda 3.31 per cent to 2,927.5 yen.

The vaccine news did not lift all firms, however, with the possibility of an end to lockdowns prompting a sell-off of stocks in gaming companies.

Nintendo lost 4.49 per cent to 54,010 yen and Sony falling more than 3 per cent - just days before the launch of its next-generation PlayStation console.

SoftBank Group dropped 4.72 per cent to 6,748 yen despite announcing late Monday that its first-half net profit more than quadrupled, and after a report the firm is considering selling robotics company Boston Dynamics to South Korea's Hyundai.

The US dollar fetched 105.00 yen in Asian trade, against 105.31 yen in New York.


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