Nikkei edges near 30-year high on recovery hopes, heavy machinery stocks’ gains

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TOKYO, Dec 24 (Reuters) – Japanese shares inched up on Thursday to come within sight of a near three-decade high, as vaccine rollouts buoyed hopes of an economic recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic and heavy machinery stocks gained on a policy shift to greener energy.

Japan’s Nikkei share average rose 0.53% by midday to 26,665.72, edging closer to Monday’s high of 26,905, its highest level since early 1991. The broader Topix gained 0.56% to 1,775.18.

Rollouts of COVID-19 vaccines are propping up hopes that the economic recovery can gain momentum next year, despite the headwinds from a recently-found more infectious strain and a delay in U.S. pandemic relief package.

Aeon rose 3.9% to hit a record high, after the retailer revised its earnings outlook higher for the year to February as consumer confidence picked up after a coronavirus-induced slump. machinery firms gained after Nikkei newspaper reported Japan’s new zero emission strategy would target a massive increase in offshore wind power. rose 6.3% and Kawasaki Heavy gained 4.4%.

The positive mood also saw retail investors flocking to recently-listed shares, with WealthNavi gaining 21%.

On the other hand, Hino Motors tumbled 9.0% after the truck maker said it would suspend production at two factories in North America until next September due to problems in U.S. engine certification testing process. Group dropped 1.8% after China launched an investigation into Alibaba (NYSE:) Group for suspected monopolistic behaviour and will summon its Ant Group to meet in coming days. Group is the biggest share holder of the Chinese e-commerce giant.

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