TOKYO, June 19 (Reuters) - Japan’s benchmark stock index Nikkei rose on Friday, propped up by hopes of an economic recovery after the government lifted its domestic travel curbs that were imposed to halt the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic.
The Nikkei share average ended higher by 0.55% to 22,478.79 on Friday. The broader Topix eased 0.02% to 1,582.80.
Japan, having eased its pandemic lockdown in May, stepped up its recovery from the coronavirus on Friday by lifting travel restrictions across prefectures.
However, concerns of fresh coronavirus cases in other parts of the world overshadowed recovery hopes. In addition to increasing number of infections in multiple states across the United States, around 400 workers at a slaughterhouse in northern Germany tested positive for the virus on Thursday.
“Stocks rose on news about reopening and recovery of the economy, but such gains are already factored into the market,” said Takashi Hiroki, chief strategist at Monex Securities, Tokyo. “Investors are waiting for new factors to guide the index.”
On the Nikkei index, there were 80 advancers against 139 decliners.
Airline and other transportation sectors led gains on the country’s move to lift travel restrictions. Airline index gained 1.71%, advancing the most on the main bourse, with Japan Airlines Co Ltd and ANA Holdings Inc rising 2.14% and 1.39%, respectively.
Land transport sector’s subindex ended 0.23% higher.
Semi-conductor shares were also strong, after the U.S. economic data showed that factory activity rebounded in the mid-Atlantic region, with Advantest up 2.54% and Screen Holdings Co Ltd eking 1.17% gain.
Electronic products manufacturer Tokyo Electron Ltd , which jumped 7.13% after the company forecast an 11% increase in net profit for the current business year through March 2021, reflected high demand from people working remotely. (Reporting by Eimi Yamamitsu; Editing by Anil D’Silva and Rashmi Aich)