Nikkei heads for biggest monthly gain in decades

Nikkei heads for biggest monthly gain in decades

Global markets were dominated by a surge in risk appetite this month on Joe Biden's US presidential win and on promising vaccine news

Representative image. Credit: Reuters Photo

Japan's benchmark Nikkei steadied on Monday, on course for its biggest monthly gain in decades, as optimism over progress in Covid-19 vaccine development and fading uncertainty surrounding the US election boosted investor appetite in risk assets.

The Nikkei share average was nearly flat at 26,666.91 points by the midday break. The index was poised to add nearly 16% in November, its biggest monthly gain since Jan 1994.

The broader Topix was also poised to mark its best month since April 2013, despite losing 0.46% to 1,778.37 earlier in the session.

Japanese equities continued on a strong note on Monday after Wall Street ended higher last week, but later pared gains on selling pressure due to profit-booking and month-end adjustments.

The dollar fell 0.25% to 103.87 against the Japanese yen in the morning trade, also providing a headwind for export-oriented stocks, analysts said.

All but eight of the 33 sector sub-indexes on the Tokyo exchange traded lower, with oil and coal products and miners leading the declines.

The aviation and land transport sectors took a hit, down 2.48% and 1.19% respectively, due to the rising number of domestic coronavirus cases.

ANA Holdings fell as much as 1.4% in early trade before trading 0.49% higher as the airline said on Friday it would issue new shares to raise $3.2 billion.

Among individual gainers, Nikkei heavyweight SoftBank Group Corp rose more than 1.7%, supported by risk sentiment, to hit its highest level since April 2000.

NEC Corp edged 0.71% higher after the Nikkei daily reported that the company was to promote Chief Financial Officer Takayuki Morita to the position of its chief executive officer.

Elsewhere, the Mothers Index of start-up firms added 0.71%.