TOKYO, Nov 16 (Reuters) - Japanese stocks touched a 29-year
high on Monday after the economy posted its first expansion in
four quarters and as progress in developing a COVID-19 vaccine
continued to lift global markets.
The Nikkei 225 Index ended 2.05% firmer at
25,906.93, its highest close since June 1991. The broader Topix
gained 1.68% to 1,731.81.
Japan's economy grew at a faster-than-expected annualized
rate of 21.4% in July-September, which follows a 28.8% plunge in
Sentiment also got a boost after China data showed that
factory output in the world's second-largest economy rose faster
than expected last month and retail sales sped up, as the
recovery from its COVID-19 slump gathered momentum.
Vaccine optimism outshone worries about rising COVID-19
cases globally, with news from Johnson & Johnson giving
markets a further lift. The U.S. drugmaker launched a late-stage
trial of its vaccine on Monday, which follows promising
developments last week from Pfizer and Moderna Inc
Though some analysts advise caution as the United States and
Europe are reintroducing restrictions to contain a surge in new
infections, which could increase market volatility.
"There might be some correction in the short term, but the
news that several vaccines are in late-stage development
suggests the downside is limited," said Masayuki Kichikawa,
chief macro strategist at Sumitomo Mitsui Asset Management Co.
The stocks that gained the most among the top 30 core Topix
names were Honda Motor Co Ltd up 4.84%, followed by
Mitsubishi UFJ Financial Group Inc up 3.48%.
The underperformers among the Topix 30 were Nintendo Co Ltd
down 1.91%, followed by Takeda Pharmaceutical Co Ltd
that lost 0.97%.
Shares of Rakuten rose 1.19% after the internet
commerce company said it will team up with private equity firm
KKR to buy a controlling stake in Japanese retailer
There were 205 advancers in the Nikkei index against 19
The volume of shares traded on the Tokyo Stock Exchange's
main board was 1.41 billion, compared with the average
of 1.12 billion in the past 30 days.
(Reporting by Stanley White, Editing by Sherry Jacob-Phillips)