Nikkei rebounds slightly on firmer U.S. market

Stocks turned slightly higher Tuesday, thanks to an advance overnight on Wall Street.

The Nikkei 225 average gained 49.97 points, or 0.25 percent, to close at 19,919.82. On Monday, the key market gauge fell 14.05 points.

The Topix, which covers all first-section issues, rose 4.23 points, 0.27 percent, to end at 1,584.23 after losing 0.71 point Monday.

A wide range of issues attracted purchases at the beginning of Tuesday trading after the Dow Jones industrial average rose for the first time in five trading days and the tech-heavy Nasdaq composite hit a record high Monday.

Investors took heart from a rise in crude oil prices following an agreement between Saudi Arabia and Russia to continue their crude oil production cuts, brokers said.

The Nikkei climbed as high as less than 2 points shy of the psychologically important 20,000 line early in the morning session but was pushed down by profit-taking, brokers said.

After temporarily sinking into negative territory late in the morning session, the key index stayed relatively firmer in the afternoon, but gains were limited.

“The market lost its upward momentum amid a lack of major fresh incentives for Japanese stocks,” said Yoshihiko Tabei, chief analyst at Naito Securities Co. “Sluggish movements of mega-bank groups also capped the market’s topside.”

An official of a major securities firm official said that an additional supportive factor, such as a drop of the yen, is needed for the Nikkei to gain ground, noting that the dollar stood above ¥114 when the Nikkei came close to the 20,000 line last week. The dollar traded mostly around ¥113.50 in Tokyo trading Tuesday.

“Downside risks for the market are limited due to brisk corporate earnings,” an official of another securities firm said, adding that a weaker yen against the dollar would likely send the Nikkei above 20,000.

Rising issues outnumbered falling ones 1,130 to 767 in the first section, while 118 issues were unchanged.

Volume increased slightly to 2.174 billion shares from 2.155 billion Monday.

Oil companies JXTG Holdings, Showa Shell, Idemitsu and Cosmo Energy Holdings were buoyant thanks to higher crude oil prices.

Cybersecurity-related issues, such as Trend Micro, gained ground following the global ransomware attack that began late last week.

Automakers Toyota, Subaru and Suzuki, tire producer Bridgestone and semiconductor-related Tokyo Electron were also buoyant.

Other major winners included game maker Nintendo, mobile phone carriers SoftBank and KDDI, and telecom giant NTT.

By contrast, mega-bank groups Mitsubishi UFJ, Mizuho and Sumitomo Mitsui, brokerage firm Nomura and insurer Dai-ichi Life were downbeat.

Clothing store chain operator Fast Retailing, retailer Seven & I Holdings and struggling machinery electronics maker Toshiba also met with selling.

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