TOKYO: Japan’s Nikkei share average rose for a third straight session on Monday, as a sharp decline in the yen boosted exporters and a drop in COVID-19 infections supported investor sentiment.
The Nikkei climbed 1.57% to 28,488.95 by the midday break, while the broader Topix rose 1.41% to 1,989.51 and was headed for a second straight session of gains.
Gains in other Asian stock markets also supported Japanese equities. An index of Asia-Pacific shares excluding Japan rose 0.56%, led by a 2% jump in Hong Kong’s Hang Seng index.
Nikkei closes down for eighth straight session
New cases of coronavirus infections in Japan fell to 553 on Sunday, the lowest in almost a year, according to public broadcaster NHK. At the height of Japan’s fifth wave in late August, the number was close to 26,000.
“The rapid drop in coronavirus infections nationwide has taken away one reason for investors to be cautious, and they are buying back shares,” said a market participant at a domestic securities firm.
Air transport was the best performing Topix sector, rising 2.64%. ANA Holdings rose 2.63% and Japan Airlines added 2.66%.
Meanwhile, the yen slid as far as 112.50 per dollar for the first time since December 2018.
A weaker currency increases the value of goods sold overseas when profits are repatriated.
Toyota Motor rose 2.6%, while Mitsubishi Motors rallied 4.93% and Nissan Motor gained 4.53%.
Panasonic Corp. was the biggest gainer on the Nikkei with a 6.71% advance.
Sony Group rose 3.92% amid a report that it might build a new chip plant with TSMC in Japan.