Nikkei 225 Records Tuesday Gain on Pharmaceuticals Strength but Asian Indices Mixed

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Asian markets had a mixed Tuesday with the Nikkei 225 finishing the session up in Tokyo but other indices in the region, including the Hang Seng, ASX 200 and STI all down. Trading is cautious as markets wait for the output from the 2-day Federal Reserve meeting which begins today in the U.S., and can be expected to follow a similar pattern tomorrow. It is widely expected that an interest rate hike of 0.25% to 0.75% will be announced but markets will be paying more particular attention to information on whether further increases are anticipated for next year and their likely conditions, pace and timing.

The Nikkei 225 concluded Tuesday’s session up 0.5% after recording a slight drop on Monday to end a winning streak from last week. The pharmaceuticals sector was on of Tuesday’s best performers and the day’s biggest gainer proved to be Sumitomo Dainippon Pharma, which rose 4.48%, while another pharma company, Kyowa Hakko Kirin was also among the leaders, up 4.2%. Daiichi Sankyo and Chugai Pharmaceutical and Shionogi & Co. were three more pharma companies to make the day’s leaderboard with respective gains of 3.48%, 3.45% and 3.4%.

Elsewhere, the day’s second strongest gainer was Meidensha Corporation, a manufacturer of generators and substation, water treatment and electrical equipment, which was up 4.36%. Third spot went to seafood company Maruha Nichiro, with a 4.27% gain while Tokyo Electric Power has started moving up again following a mild correct after a sharp rise between December 5th and 8th last week. The energy utility, which owns the Fukushima nuclear power plant destroyed by the 2011 earthquake and subsequent tsunami, gained 3.9%.

Tuesday’s heaviest loss was sustained by semiconductor company Sumco Corp, which produces silicon wafers, down 4.78%. Brewery and soft drinks manufacturer Asahi Group was next, down 4.61%, followed by chemical engineering firm Showa Denko with a 4.51% loss.

Hang Seng, ASX 200 and STI roundups to follow….

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