TOKYO, April 26 (Reuters) – Japanese shares settled higher on Monday as travel-related stocks bounced back from losses driven by fears of coronavirus curbs, and after ANA forecast a smaller-than-expected full-year loss.
The Nikkei share average inched up 0.36% to close at 29,126.23, while the broader Topix edged up 0.17% to 1,918.15.
Travel-related shares led the gains after their big declines in recent weeks as investors closed their selling positions made in anticipation of social restrictions to curb the fourth wave of COVID-19 infections.
Japan on Friday declared “short and powerful” states of emergency for Tokyo, Osaka and two other prefectures, requiring restaurants, bars and karaoke parlours serving alcohol to close.
“Those sectors hit by the coronavirus are getting bought back as there are hopes that the coronavirus infections will decline now that the government has declared an emergency,” said Takashi Hiroki, chief strategist at Monex Securities.
ANA Holdings jumped 5.78% after the airline said its full-year operating loss would be smaller than previously forecast.
Railway companies also soared, with Central Japan Railway , West Japan Railway and East Japan Railway up 4.67%, 5.23% and 3.44%, respectively.
Tokyo Disney Resort operator Oriental Land Corp rose 2.58%.
“Because the market has started to underperform globally partly due to the rise of local infections, if the new restrictions curtail infections, the market might be relieved even if economic growth is somewhat lessened by such,” said John Vail, chief global strategist at Nikko Asset Management.
M3 dropped as much as 5.82% after the medical portal platform operator announced upbeat quarterly results but declined to give an annual guidance for the current year.
M3 followed a pattern seen in recent sessions when the market’s leading growth shares such as Yaskawa Electric and Nidec fell despite reporting fairly upbeat earnings.
Telephone giant NTT fell 0.98%, making it the biggest percentage loser on the Nikkei, after a report said it would form an alliance with technology firm Fujitsu.
(Reporting by Hideyuki Sano and Junko Fujita; Editing by Subhranshu Sahu)