Nikkei posts biggest monthly gain in near 27 yrs on vaccine cheer

Optimism over progress in Covid-19 vaccine development boosts risk appetite

Japan's benchmark Nikkei closed lower on Monday but posted its biggest monthly gain in nearly 27 years, as optimism over progress in COVID-19 vaccine development and fading uncertainty surrounding the US election boosted risk appetite.

The Nikkei share average ended 0.79 per cent lower at 26,433.62, snapping its four consecutive sessions of gains. But the index saw a 15 per cent jump in November, its biggest monthly gain since January 1994.

The broader Topix also marked its best month since April 2013, but closed 1.77 per cent lower at 1,754.92.

Global markets were dominated by a surge in risk appetite this month on Joe Biden’s US presidential win and on promising news surrounding vaccine efficacy rates.


"These news have pushed Japanese stocks largely higher ... to an exceptional performance this month," said Masahiro Ichikawa, chief market strategist at Sumitomo Mitsui DS Asset Management, noting that hopes for a normalisation of economic activity further boosted investor sentiment.

Japanese equities began on a strong note, after Wall Street ended higher last week, but fell into negative territory on selling pressure due to profit-booking and month-end adjustments. The dollar fell to 103.85 against the Japanese yen , also providing headwind for export-oriented stocks, analysts said.

SoftBank Group Corp rose 0.3 per cent, after hitting its highest level since April 2000. The Mothers Index of start-up firms added 1.77 per cent.

Elsewhere, Tokyo Stock Exchange (TSE) operator Japan Exchange Group slightly eased after news that TSE's president and chief executive officer Koichiro Miyahara decided to resign over the system failure that caused an all-day suspension on the bourse last month. – Reuters