Japan's Nikkei reversed course to end higher on Friday, led by travel and leisure shares, as investors scooped up stocks that were beaten down amid concerns over the impact of the Omicron coronavivus. "Investors started buying shares once they confirmed where the bottom of the Nikkei for the day," said Masahiro Ichikawa, chief market strategist at Sumitomo Mitsui DS Asset Management. "But going forward, the market will be moving up and down as long as details of the Omicron will be missing and concerns on the variant will remain."
Japan's Nikkei share average slid on Friday, dragged down by declines in SoftBank Group and other heavyweights, as investors assessed the impact of the new Omicron coronavirus variant. "Some investors are bullish on the market outlook after sharp declines, while others still remained sceptical and tried to figure out whether the Omicron variant could be contained by vaccines or spread further," said Shigetoshi Kamada, general manager at the research department at Tachibana Securities.
Japanese shares rose on Friday, and were set to end the week up more than 2%, after Wall Street's overnight gains helped boost technology heavyweights as the earnings season is set to kick off. However, Uniqlo owner Fast Retailing was the biggest drag on the Nikkei, falling 0.5%, after the company posted a weaker-than-expected profit forecast. Both the Nikkei and the Topix are set to post first weekly gains after three straight weeks of losses, rising 2.9% and 2.48%, respectively.