SYDNEY – Japanese shares rebounded on Tuesday, led by semiconductor-related companies and other tech stocks, although trading was subdued as investors awaited earnings from prominent companies.
The benchmark Nikkei average rose 1.9% to 19,402.32 by the midday break, with the volume of shares traded on the main board valuing only at 989 billion yen ($9.2 billion), well below the average.
The Nikkei’s volatility index, a measure of investors’ volatility expectations based on option pricing and considered to be a fear gauge, slid 10.7% to 38.01, its lowest level in three weeks.
Shares of semiconductor-making equipment producers were in demand following a 1.4% gain overnight in the U.S. Philadelphia semiconductor index.
Silicon wafer producer Sumco Corp jumped 4.8%, test device maker Advantest Corp gained 4.9% and chip-making gear manufacturer Tokyo Electron Ltd rose 2.7%.
The Nikkei’s heavyweight SoftBank Group Corp climbed 3.3%, shrugging off an earlier announcement that its Vision Fund will post a 1.8 trillion yen loss in the year ended March.
While that is going to result in the entire group’s first annual loss in 15 years, some kind of disastrous performance had already been priced in, analysts said.
FamilyMart Co Ltd jumped 6.8% after the convenience store operator forecast a 37.8% increase in net profit for the current business year ending in February.
The broader Topix rose 1.0% to 1,419.39, with all but four of the 33 sector sub-indexes on the exchange trading in negative territory.
Retailer, services and electric machinery were the top three performing sectors on the main bourse.
Bucking the overall firmness, stocks of major construction firms came under pressure as Shimizu Corp dropped 4.4% after the builder moved towards suspending construction in all seven prefectures that have been put under an emergency decree.
Elsewhere, the index of Mothers start-up shares advanced 4.2%.