Japan stocks continue to surge on vaccine-fuelled recovery hopes

TOKYO, Feb 16 (Reuters) – Japanese stocks, which hit a 30-year high in the previous session, extended their rally on Tuesday as progress in the distribution of coronavirus vaccines boosted expectations that the global economy is poised for a strong recovery.

The Nikkei 225 Index rose 1.18% to 30,439.54 by 01:44 GMT as financials and real estate shares surged. At one point the Nikkei rose to 30,487.65, the highest since August 1990.

The broader Topix rose 0.64% to 1,966,45 and at one point hit its highest since June 1991.

Japanese stocks have followed global equity markets higher in a dizzying bull run as money flows to riskier assets in anticipation of a rapid improvement in economic growth and corporate profits, but some analysts worry that recent gains are unsustainable.

“There are fundamental reasons supporting stocks, but people have been worried about the speed of the rally since the Nikkei reached 29,000,” said Kiyoshi Ishigane, chief fund manager at Mitsubishi UFJ Kokusai Asset Management.

“However, it just does not seem to show signs of stopping.”

Recent corporate earnings have been favourable, and Japan is expected to start coronavirus vaccinations this week.

In addition, Bank of Japan Governor Haruhiko Kuroda said on Tuesday the recent stock rally reflected the global outlook, brushing aside views its monetary policy was fuelling a bubble.

The stocks that gained the most among the top 30 core Topix names were Sumitomo Mitsui Financial Group Inc up 4.04%, followed by Mitsubishi UFJ Financial Group Inc, which gained 4.64%.

The underperformers among the Topix 30 were Toyota Motor Corp, down 1.15%, followed by Daiichi Sankyo Co Ltd , which lost 0.74%.

There were 137 advancers on the Nikkei index against 87 decliners.

The volume of shares traded on the Tokyo Stock Exchange’s main board was 0.53 billion, compared to the average of 1.27 billion in the past 30 days.

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