Nikkei Just Misses 20,000 Mark

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By Jacob Maslow

The Nikkei Stock Average just missed the 20,000 mark at closing on Thursday, continuing a two-month rally sparked by a weaker Japanese yen.

The Nikkei closed at 19,944.41, up 0.5%, Thursday. Kospi in South Korea was up 1.1%, and Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 rose 0.3%.

Meanwhile, the Shanghai composite index dropped 0.3%, and the Hang Seng Index in Hong Kong was flat.

Shares in Japan have rebounded strongly since September when many benchmarks dropped to significant lows. Year to date, the Nikkei is the second best-performing market in Asia, gaining 14% on the year. The Shenzhen Composite Index in China has risen 65% over the last year.

The last time the Nikkei closed above the 20,000 mark was August 20. A weaker yen has helped exporters gain more profits from foreign purchases, and has helped boost the index 18% from its recent low point on September 29.

On average, Japanese firms beat average estimates on the quarter which ended in September. This marked the 12th straight time Japanese firms beat estimates, while firms in other Asia-Pacific markets missed the mark.

Although Japan’s economy is continuing to struggle, the market has rallied. However, shares in Japan remain vulnerable to geopolitical tensions and unfavorable moves made by global central banks.

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