TOKYO, Aug 27 (Reuters) - Japan’s Nikkei share average extended the previous day’s gains on Thursday after a strong rebound on Wall Street and continued calm in Chinese markets eased investors’ fears of a prolonged global market rout.
Expectations that the U.S. Federal Reserve might not raise interest rates next month also aided sentiment.
The Nikkei rose 1.1 percent to 18,574.44, recouping some of the huge losses it suffered in the six-day losing streak that lasted through Tuesday.
“The panic is starting to subside, so, instead of being intensely focused on China, people are starting to look more broadly at the international picture,” said Nicholas Smith, a strategist at CLSA.
“And, the rest of the developed world seems to be chugging along reasonably well outside of some problems in commodities nations and emerging markets. North America and Europe are doing just fine and that’s what really drives things as far as Japan is concerned--the shopping malls of rich nations.”
Market participants said intense international focus may overshadow Friday’s release of data on Japan’s domestic unemployment, retail sales and household spending.
“I think Friday’s domestic numbers will have a far less significant effect on the market in Japan than foreign investor perception of Japanese companies,” said Martin King, co-managing director of Tyton Capital Advisers in Tokyo.
Defensive food shares surged. Ajinomoto Co soared 4.2 percent and Kikkoman Corp jumped 6.1 percent.
Banks also were in demand, with Mitsubishi UFJ Financial Group rising 2.3 percent, Sumitomo Mitsui Financial Group gaining 2.6 percent and Mizuho Financial Group gaining 2.2 percent.
Major exporters rose, with Toyota Motor Corp edging up 1.5 percent and Advantest Corp surging 3.6 percent.
Japan’s steel sector fell after Daiwa Securities cut the sector rating to neutral from positive based on faltering demand for steel products in China. Nippon Steel and Sumitomo Metal shares fell 0.7 percent after its rating was cut to ‘hold’ from ‘buy’ and JFE Holdings dropped 2.5 percent after its rating was changed to ‘hold’ from ‘outperform.’
Market players said the gains were encouraging but the Nikkei index was unlikely to return anytime soon to levels seen as recently as Aug. 10, when it closed at 20,808.69.
The broader Topix gained 1.5 percent to 1,500.41 and the JPX-Nikkei Index 400 rose 1.4 percent to 13,504.86. (Additional Reporting by Ayai Tomisawa; Editing by Simon Cameron-Moore)