Japan’s equity market ended higher for the second consecutive session on Wednesday, December 22, 2021, as sentiment strengthened on monitoring overnight advances on Wall Street. Market gains, however, were capped due to coronavirus concerns after reports emerged that community spread of Omicron had been detected in the western city of Osaka.
At the close, the 225-number Nikkei Stock Average was up 44.62 points, or 0.16%, at 28,562.21. The broader Topix index of all issues in the first section on the Tokyo Stock Exchange rose 1.72 points, or 0.09%, to 1,971.51.
Shares of Sony Corp jumped 2.8% after its Indian subsidiary finalized a deal with local rival Zee Entertainment to merge their TV channels, film assets and streaming platforms.
Eisai shares rose 1.2% after reports that Japan’s health ministry expected to discuss approving an Alzheimer’s disease treatment jointly developed by the Japanese pharmaceutical company and its American partner Biogen.
ECONOMIC NEWS: The Bank of Japan’s Monetary Policy Minutes said the country’s economy is moving in a positive direction but remains at risk due to Covid-19 and its variants.
Members said the central bank will continue with its current supportive monetary policy until the country achieves its price stability target of 2%. Interest rates will remain at current levels for now, and members did not rule out further stimulus if they deemed it necessary. They added that the depreciation of the yen had a positive effect on the Japanese economy thanks to higher stock prices and an increase in profits. At the meeting, the BoJ maintained its monetary stimulus and downgraded its growth outlook for the current fiscal year as supply-side constraints dampened output and exports amid low consumption.
CURRENCY NEWS: The Japanese yen was trading at 114.17 to the dollar after a recent weakening from levels below 113.7 against the greenback.
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