Japanese Market Significantly Higher

The Japanese stock market is significantly higher on Tuesday, extending the gains in the previous session, with the benchmark Nikkei index staying below the 28,600 level, despite the lack of cues from Wall Street overnight, as traders digested data showing a stronger than expected pace of expansion of the Chinese economy, which could bode well for the region and the global economy.

Meanwhile, the upside is limited amid the rapid spread of the coronavirus omicron variant. Japan has reported more than 20,000 new daily cases for the fourth straight day, with the nation considering placing 11 prefectures, including Tokyo and its surrounding area, under a COVID-19 quasi-state of emergency to curb the rapid spread.

The benchmark Nikkei 225 Index is gaining 234.03 points or 0.83 percent to 28,567.55, after touching a high of 28,598.21 earlier. Japanese shares closed notably higher on Monday.

Market heavyweight SoftBank Group is gaining almost 1 percent and Uniqlo operator Fast Retailing is adding almost 4 percent. Among automakers, Honda is edging up 0.1 percent and Toyota is gaining almost 2 percent.

In the tech space, Advantest and Tokyo Electron are gaining almost 1 percent, while Screen Holdings is down almost 1 percent. In the banking sector, Mitsubishi UFJ Financial is edging up 0.5 percent, Sumitomo Mitsui Financial is adding almost 1 percent and Mizuho Financial is gaining more than 1 percent.

The major exporters are higher. Panasonic and Mitsubishi Electric are edging up 0.4 percent each, while Sony is gaining almost 1 percent and Canon is adding almost 2 percent.

Among the other major gainers, Hitachi Construction Machinery is gaining almost 3 percent, while Kawasaki Heavy Industries, Recruit Holdings, Shimizu and Isetan Mitsukoshi are adding more than 2 percent each.

Conversely, Nippon Steel is losing almost 6 percent, while JFE Holdings and Kobe Steel are declining more than 5 percent each.

In economic news, the Bank of Japan will wrap up its monetary policy meeting on Tuesday and then announce its decision on interest rates. The BoJ is widely expected to keep its benchmark lending rate unchanged at -0.10 percent.

In the currency market, the U.S. dollar is trading in the higher 114 yen-range on Tuesday.

On Wall Street, the markets were off on Monday for the Martin Luther King Jr. holiday and will return to action on Tuesday.

Meanwhile, the major European markets closed on a firm note on the day. The U.K.'s FTSE 100 surged up 0.91 percent, Germany's DAX advanced 0.32 percent and France's CAC 40 gained 0.82 percent.

Crude oil prices moved modestly higher on Tuesday, with the upside capped by news that the Trans Mountain pipeline returned to normal operations following a two-month disruption. West Texas Intermediate crude for February delivery added $0.48 or 0.57 percent to $84.30 per barrel.

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