(RTTNews) - The Japanese stock market is rising on Wednesday following the positive cues overnight from Wall Street and on optimism about a coronavirus vaccine. Biotech firm Moderna said its experimental vaccine for COVID-19, mRNA-1273, produced strong immune responses in all 45 patients in an ongoing early-stage human trial.
Investors now look ahead to the Bank of Japan's monetary policy decision later today. The BoJ is widely expected to keep its benchmark lending rate unchanged at a record low of -0.1 percent, although the central bank may introduce some kind of additional stimulus.
The benchmark Nikkei 225 Index is adding 345.28 points or 1.53 percent to 22,932.29, after rising to a high of 22,948.39 earlier. Japanese shares closed lower on Tuesday.
Market heavyweight SoftBank Group is advancing almost 2 percent, while Fast Retailing is edging down less than 0.1 percent.
The major exporters are higher on a weaker yen. Panasonic and Mitsubishi Electric are rising more than 2 percent each, while Sony is adding more than 1 percent and Canon is up almost 1 percent.
In the financial sector, Sumitomo Mitsui Financial is rising 0.6 percent and Mitsubishi UFJ Financial is adding 0.2 percent.
Among automakers, Honda is gaining almost 4 percent and Toyota is advancing almost 2 percent. In the tech space, Advantest is declining more than 1 percent and Tokyo Electron is edging down 0.1 percent.
In the oil sector, Inpex is gaining almost 4 percent and Japan Petroleum is higher by more than 3 percent after crude oil prices rose overnight.
Among the other major gainers, Nissan Motor is surging more than 8 percent and JGC Holdings is gaining almost 7 percent. JFE Holdings, Tokyo Electric Power Co., Mazda Motor Corp., Tokyo Seikan Group and Unitika are all rising more than 6 percent each.
Conversely, Eisai is declining more than 2 percent and Kyowa Kirin is lower by almost 2 percent.
In the currency market, the U.S. dollar is trading in the lower 107 yen-range on Wednesday.
On Wall Street, stocks closed higher on Tuesday, with the Dow showing a particularly strong upward move to reach its best closing level in a month. The spike by the Dow was partly attributed to traders transitioning out of big-name tech stocks and into more cyclical stocks like Caterpillar. Strong gains by energy giants Chevron and Exxon Mobil also contributed to the advance by the Dow, reflecting strength in the broader energy sector.
The Dow soared 556.79 points or 2.1 percent to 26,642.59 and the S&P 500 surged up 42.30 points or 1.3 percent to 3,197.53, which was also a one-month high. The tech-heavy Nasdaq added 97.73 points or 0.9 percent at 10,488.58.
The major European markets also moved mostly lower on Tuesday, although the U.K.'s FTSE 100 Index bucked the downtrend and inched up by 0.1 percent. The German DAX Index slumped by 0.8 percent, while the French CAC 40 Index tumbled by 1 percent.
Crude oil futures ended slightly higher on Tuesday, with traders weighing global crude supply and demand positions and looking ahead to the outcome of the meeting of OPEC's Joint Ministerial Monitoring Committee, scheduled to take place on Wednesday. WTI crude for August delivery added $0.19 or about 0.5 percent to $40.29 a barrel.
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