Japanese stocks rose, with the Topix index reversing declines in the last hour of trading, as Prime Minister Shinzo Abe dissolved parliament ahead of elections.
Paper makers and oil explorers led gains among the Topix’s 33 industry groups. Takata Corp., a maker of airbags linked to deaths of motorists, jumped 9.2 percent after leveraged short-selling of the stock was suspended. Mazda Motor Corp., which gets 31 percent of revenue from North America, fell 0.6 percent, paring declines of as much as 2.8 percent.
The Topix rose 0.2 percent to 1,400.18 at the close of trading in Tokyo, reversing losses of as much as 0.9 percent. The measure finished the week down less than 0.1 percent after four weeks of gains. The Nikkei 225 Stock Average added 0.3 percent to 17,357.51 today, erasing a 1.1 percent drop. The yen rose 0.4 percent to 117.73 per dollar after Finance Minister Taro Aso said the currency’s decline this week to the weakest level since August 2007 had been too fast. Japan’s market is shut on Nov. 24 for a public holiday.
“Investors entered an election mood, which triggered the market to reverse losses after shares were being sold ahead of a three-day holiday and Aso’s comments on the yen,” said Yoshihiro Ito, chief strategist at Okasan Online Securities in Tokyo. “There’s expectations for the market to gain during elections based on prior experiences.”
Abe dissolved the lower house of parliament today ahead of a December election, scuppering plans for a second increase in Japan’s sales tax as he tries to salvage his reform program after data this week showed Asia’s second-largest economy is in recession. In contrast, house-price and manufacturing reports yesterday signaled strength in the U.S. economy.