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Nikkei 225 Rises 2.1%, Tops 29,000 for First Time in 30 Years on Earnings, Softer Yen

· 02/08/2021 00:04

04:59 AM EST, 02/08/2021 (MT Newswires) -- The Nikkei 225 opened higher on Monday and gained through the afternoon, finishing up 2.1% as traders weighed a strong earnings season and a softer yen, the latter regarded as a positive in export-oriented Japan.

The benchmark Nikkei 225 rose 609.31 to 29,388.50, topping the 29,000 milestone for the first time since 1990, as gaining issues outnumbered losers 197 to 27.

Leading the upside was Kobe Steel (KBSTY, 5406:Tokyo), up 17.55 after issuing earnings and improved profit outlook. Textiles-and-materials house Unitika (3103;Tokyo), rose 12.7%, while Nippon Steel (NISTF, 5401:Tokyo), rose 10.0%, also on improved financial outlook.

On the downside were glass-maker AGC (ASGLY, 5201:Tokyo), off 3.0%, and then entertainment-concern Sony (SNE, 6758:Tokyo), off 2.9%.

The Tokyo Stock Exchange REIT Index rose 1.6% on the day.

In economic news, Japan's Economy Watchers Survey index, which measures the business situation as seen by front-line retail and service-sector workers, decreased to 31.2 in January from 34.3 in December, the official Cabinet Office reported on Monday. Readings below 50 indicate respondents report a shrinking business scene.

As recently as October the Economy Watchers index had posted at 53.0, indicating a growing services-industry as seen by taxi-drivers, restaurant workers, tourism-industry staffers and others. But Japan was hit by a third, and by far largest, wave of COVID-19 infections In December and January, which has cut consumer spending and provoked authorities to implement pandemic-fighting business restrictions.