Japan’s Nikkei share index closed at its highest in 21 years on Wednesday, with gains mainly led by defensive shares, though exporters benefitted from solid global growth.
Japan’s second biggest steelmaker Kobe Steel Ltd sank 18 per cent, following its 22-per cent plunge the previous day, reports Reuters.
The Nikkei rose 0.3 per cent to 20,881.27, its highest close since December 1996. The broader Topix rose 0.1 per cent to 1,696.81, its highest finish in a decade.
The Nikkei’s advance mirrored other major stock indexes notching record highs, thanks to healthy growth prospects for the major economies in North America, Europe and Asia.
Yet the Nikkei is still a long way off its all-time peak of 38,915, touched in December 1989.
Despite the Nikkei hitting a milestone, Wednesday’s turnover of 2.37 trillion yen on the Tokyo Stock Exchange’s main board was average.
Leading the gains on Wednesday were defensive shares, such as food companies and railway companies while cyclical shares underperformed.
Meat processing company NH Foods rose 1.6 per cent, flour products maker Nisshin Seifun Group advanced 1.2 per cent, East Japan Railway gained 1.6 per cent and West Japan Railway added 0.9 per cent.
Toyota Motor Corp dropped 1.0 per cent, Mitsubishi Motors Corp shed 1.6 per cent and Mazda Motor Corp declined 2.0 per cent.