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Nikkei ends higher on Sony, Toyota boost; posts weekly drop on virus woes

TOKYO: Japan’s Nikkei share average closed higher on Friday, as gains in export-focused Sony Group and Toyota Motor on a weaker yen offset weakness in chip-related stocks, but the index ended lower for the week on concerns over fresh coronavirus cases.

Nikkei rose 0.27% to close at 28,783.28, after four straight sessions of declines, while the broader Topix jumped 0.88% to 1,956.31.

But for the week, the Nikkei slid 0.97%, its first weekly fall in four, while the Topix lost 0.32% after rising last week.

“The weaker yen is boosting shares in automakers, as well as other manufacturers, such as Sony, as investors expect they might raise their outlook,” said Norihiro Fujito, chief investment strategist at Mitsubishi UFJ Morgan Stanley Securities.

“But their gains are capped by the weak performance of the Nikkei’s heavyweights, such as chip-making equipment makers and Fast Retailing. That explains Topix’s bigger gains.”

Japan is likely to extend by two weeks or more coronavirus containment measures in the greater Tokyo area, four government sources said on Thursday.

Sony Group, an exporter of games, cameras and other electronic home appliances, was the top gainer on the top 30 core Topix, jumping 3.66%, as the yen hit its lowest level since March 2020. rose 2.1%.

Automakers Toyota Motor, Honda Motor, Nissan Motor and Mazda Motor surged between 1.38% and 6.53%, following strong quarterly sales numbers from U.S. peers, which pointed to the trend continuing into 2022.

Domestic chip-related shares tracked overnight losses at the Philadelphia SE Semiconductor index, with Tokyo Electron and Advantest falling 2.11% and 1.32%, respectively.

Fast Retailing, known for its Uniqlo clothing brand, fell 0.89% after a report that French prosecutors had opened an investigation into four fashion retailers suspected of concealing crimes against humanity in China‘s Xinjiang region.

Daiichi Sankyo fell 0.52% and was the worst performer among the Topix 30 names, followed by Seven & i Holdings, which fell 0.38%.

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