Japanese shares end higher as focus shifts to corporate earnings

TOKYO, May 10 (Reuters) – Japanese shares gained on Monday, as a strong finish last week on Wall Street boosted risk appetite, while local investors looked to corporate earnings from automakers and other major firms for signs of progress in a pandemic-hit economy.

The Nikkei share average rose 0.55% to close at 29,518.34, while the broader Topix jumped 0.99% to 1,952.27.

The Dow and the S&P 500 hit record closing highs on Friday after unexpectedly slow growth in the U.S. jobs market eased concerns over prospects for rising rates.

The yield on benchmark 10-year Treasury notes plunged to a two-month low of 1.4690% on Friday.

“The U.S. market gained on speculation that low interest rates will continue for a prolonged period of time, and that also lifted Japanese market on Monday,” Masahiro Ichikawa, chief market strategist at Sumitomo Mitsui DS Asset Management said.

“On the other hand, investors are waiting to confirm the outlook of major firms, particularly they want to see the impact of chip shortage on automakers.”

Japanese automakers are set to report their earnings this week, starting with Nissan Motor on Tuesday and Toyota Motor on Wednesday, the same day as SoftBank Group .

Toyota gained 1.7%, while Nissan jumped 4.39%. SoftBank Group rose 1.7%.

Nippon Steel advanced 5.26% after issuing annual profit forecast above analysts estimate last week, helping the sector index gain 4.68%.

JFE Holdings and Daido Steel jumped 7.21% and 6.08%, respectively.

Shipping firm Nippon Yusen fell 3.18% after its annual operating profit forecast missed analysts’ expectations. Sea transport sector lost 3.24%, making it the biggest loser among the 33 sector sub-indexes.

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