Tue, April 16, 2024

Nikkei 225 Hits 39,098.68: A 44% Yearly Surge

Wibest – Asian Market: The Nikkei Stock Average with red down arrow.

Quick Look

  • The Nikkei 225 index surpasses its 1989 peak, closing at 39,098.68.
  • Sharp gains in chip-related shares and significant foreign investment drive the index’s rise.
  • Over the past year, the Nikkei has surged by approximately 44%, outperforming many global counterparts.
  • Governance reforms and corporate efficiency measures contribute to market attractiveness.
  • Record stock buybacks and notable performances by companies like Hitachi highlight Japan’s corporate evolution.

The Japanese stock market has reached a significant milestone, with the Nikkei 225 index breaking its previous record set on December 29, 1989, of 38,915.87. The index closed at 39,098.68 on Thursday, marking a momentous occasion in Japan’s economic history. This achievement comes after a long period of recovery from a severe market downturn that began post-1989, during which the index plummeted to below 7,000 at its nadir, with banks writing off approximately 100 trillion yen in bad debts.

Strategic Moves & Foreign Cash Fuel Nikkei

The resurgence of the Nikkei 225 has been largely fueled by strategic market-boosting measures initiated by former Prime Minister Shinzo Abe in 2013. Additionally, a recent sharp increase in foreign investment and a keen interest in chip-related shares have contributed to the rise. Companies like Tokyo Electron, Advantest Corp., and SoftBank Group Corp. have seen significant jumps in their share prices, contributing to the index’s overall performance. Furthermore, the Bank of Japan’s ongoing policy of maintaining the benchmark rate at minus 0.1% for over a decade has played a critical role in the market’s recovery and growth.

Nikkei Outshines Global Markets by 44%

The Nikkei’s performance over the past year has been stellar, with a 15% rise in the past three months alone and an overall increase of approximately 44% over the year. This growth significantly outpaces other major global markets, with Shanghai and Hong Kong’s indices experiencing declines of more than 11% and about 22%, respectively. Moreover, the attraction of international investors to Japanese stocks has doubled the purchase volume to 125.2 trillion yen in January, showcasing global confidence in Japan’s market reforms and corporate governance improvements.

Reforms & 9.3T Yen Buybacks Boost Market

Efforts by the Tokyo Stock Exchange to encourage companies to enhance capital efficiency, alongside governance reforms such as increasing the presence of outside directors on boards and reducing cross-shareholdings, have bolstered investor confidence. These initiatives, coupled with a record 9.3 trillion yen worth of stock buybacks announced for the year ending in March, highlight the proactive steps being taken towards improving corporate governance and efficiency. Notable corporate transformations, such as Hitachi’s, which contributed to a 317% return over five years, underscore the potential for investor returns in the evolving Japanese market.

The Japanese stock market’s achievement occurs amidst a complex global economic landscape, with U.S. stocks closing near flat ahead of key inflation data and an equities rally driven by interest in AI-related stocks. The Federal Reserve’s upcoming interest rate decisions, influenced by inflation data, will further shape the global investment environment. However, Japan’s significant market reforms, attractive corporate governance initiatives, and the recent performance of the Nikkei 225 suggest a bright future for investors in Tokyo shares, who have already enjoyed a return of more than 28% in 2023.

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