Asia report: Nikkei rises further after Japan PM Suga resigns
Stock markets were in positive territory after Monday’s session in Asia, with Tokyo’s main board jumping almost 2%, adding on to the gains it recorded on Friday.
In Japan, the Nikkei 225 was up 1.83% at 29,659.89, as the yen weakened 0.16% against the dollar to last trade at JPY 109.89.
Of the major components on the benchmark index, automation specialist Fanuc was up 1.8%, fashion firm Fast Retailing was ahead 2.67%, and technology conglomerate SoftBank Group advanced 1.94%.
Japan’s main index had risen 2.05% in its previous session on Friday, after prime minister Yoshihide Suga said he would not run in the upcoming Liberal Democratic Party leadership election.
That move means he would be replaced as prime minister, in an unexpected move understood to be made amid criticism of his administration’s response to the Covid-19 crisis in the country.
The broader Topix index advanced 1.28% by the end of trading in Tokyo, closing at 2,041.22.
On the mainland, the Shanghai Composite was 1.12% firmer at 3,621.86, and the smaller, technology-heavy Shenzhen Composite jumped 2.03% to 2,463.36.
South Korea’s Kospi eked out gains of 0.07% to 3,203.33, while the Hang Seng Index in Hong Kong rose 1.01% to 26,163.63.
The blue-chip technology stocks were mixed in Seoul, with Samsung Electronics up 0.91%, while SK Hynix lost 0.93%.
“Asia markets have started the week on the front foot with the Nikkei 225 continuing its big rise on Friday with another positive session,” said CMC Markets chief market analyst Michael Hewson.
“The resignation of Japanese PM Yoshihide Suga now sets the wheels in motion for an election by the end of the year, after his popularity plunged as a result of the government's shambolic Covid-19 response.”
Oil prices were lower at the end of the Asian day, with Brent crude last down 0.65% at $72.14 per barrel, and West Texas Intermediate losing 0.64% to $68.85.
In Australia, the S&P/ASX 200 managed to rise 0.07% to 7,528.50, while across the Tasman Sea in New Zealand, the S&P/NZX 50 was 0.08% firmer at 13,300.03.
The down under dollars were both weaker against the greenback, with the Aussie last off 0.32% at AUD 1.3455, and the Kiwi retreating 0.32% to NZD 1.4028.