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Shibuya Tokyo Japan Crosswalk

 

Nikkei index hits highest levels since early 1990s in sign that Japan deflation may be ending 

Japan’s Nikkei 225 Stock Index has reached its highest level since the nation's bubble economy era over three decades ago, reflecting investor confidence in the country's recovery from a prolonged battle with deflation. 

Closing at 33,763.18 in Tokyo, the blue-chip gauge surged 1.2%, marking a level not seen since March 1990. This ascent was driven by a rebound in technology shares and a decline in Treasury yields. The more comprehensive benchmark, the Topix index, also saw a gain of 0.8%. 

Both the Nikkei 225 and Tokyo Stock Price Index (Topix) recorded an annual gain of over 25% in the previous year, marking their best performance in a decade. In 2023, these indices were among the world's top gainers, propelled by the Japanese authorities’ efforts to enhance shareholder value as long-standing deflation began to give way to mild price gains. 

A historically weak Japanese yen rate, despite a recent uptick, has provided support to exporters. Optimism surrounding Warren Buffett's increased investment in Japan’s largest trading companies has also boosted positive sentiment in the world's third-largest economy. 

Ayako Sera, a market strategist at Sumitomo Mitsui Trust Bank (SMTB) told Bloomberg that the Nikkei’s return to a three-decade high wasn’t that surprising, given signs of corporate governance reform and the optimism surrounding Warren Buffett’s increased investment in Japan:  

“Japanese stocks have been cheap for a long time. It’s important to watch if the Nikkei can reach a record high now. The 40,000 yen level still seems quite far away”. 

 

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Japan inflation: BoJ expected to normalise monetary policy in 2024 

While inflation in Japan hasn't reached the levels seen in many other Asian economies and is actually showing signs of slowing, it marks a sea change from the persistent price declines that weighed on corporate earnings in the past. The Bank of Japan (BoJ) responded to the deflationary environment by taking an ultra-loose monetary policy stance: lowering interest rates below zero and purchasing assets from the market to stimulate demand  

Market indicators suggest that traders anticipate the BOJ to end its negative interest-rate policy later this year, even though speculation of an imminent move this month has subsided. While a central bank policy tightening might initially impact shares negatively as borrowing costs rise, it could benefit banks by improving lending margins. 

Nikkei 225 Index: Top gainers include DeNA and Nintendo 

DeNA Co. played a role in propelling the Nikkei 225's upward momentum by disclosing that its equity-method affiliate, Go Inc., a mobility company, is making preparations to go public. DeNA shares gained 9.13%, closing at 1,511.50 yen on the day.  

Nintendo shares also emerged as a big gainer, with Bernstein & Co. upgrading the Japanese gaming giant from “Market perform” to “Outperform” — a move prompted by positive industry feedback about a new console, the Nintendo Switch 2, anticipated for release later this year. 

Other gainers included Sony Corporation (up 1.29% at 13,340 yen), Omron Corp (+6.22% at 6,677.00 yen) and Advantest Corp. (+6.05% at 4,945.00 yen). 

When considering shares and indices for trading and price predictions, remember that trading CFDs involves a significant degree of risk and could result in capital loss.  

Past performance is not indicative of any future results. This information is provided for informative purposes only and should not be construed to be investment advice. 

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