Tokyo and Shanghai stocks closed higher yesterday but trade lacked direction with several major markets closed for Easter holidays.

In Japan, the benchmark Nikkei 225 index added 0.50 per cent, or 110.44 points, to 22,200.56, while the broader Topix index climbed 0.12 per cent, or 1.96 points, to 1,616.93.

The market’s main gainer was Nintendo, which jumped more than 14 per cent on reports its games and popular Switch console will soon be available in China.

Meanwhile, Chinese stocks managed to claw higher despite some early wobbles over concerns that China’s slowing economy could hit soon-to-be-released corporate earnings.

The benchmark Shanghai Composite Index gained 0.63 per cent, or 20.62 points, to close at 3,270.80.

The Shenzhen Composite Index, which tracks stocks on China’s second exchange, added 0.94 per cent, or 16.51 points, to end the day at 1,778.81. The Japanese market stayed comfortably in positive territory throughout the day, initially lifted by strong gains in overseas markets.

But a lack of fresh clues and the closure of several major international markets for Easter prompted position adjustment and profit-taking in the afternoon session, said Okasan Online Securities in a commentary.

“After an initial round of buying subsided, (the Nikkei index) became trapped inside a narrow range around 21,200,” Okasan said.

“Only few investors were chasing the higher end of the market since major foreign markets are entering a break through Monday,” it said.

Wall Street shares finished modestly higher Thursday following a batch of mostly solid corporate earnings and a successful market debut of technology company Pinterest.

The dollar stood at 111.91 yen in Asian trade, slightly slipping from 112.00 yen in New York overnight.

Tokyo investors are gradually preparing themselves for a special 10-day holiday from the end of the month for an upcoming imperial succession.

The Tokyo Stock Exchange will be closed from April 27 through May 6. Trading will resume from May 7.

Among major gainers yesterday, Nintendo jumped 14.12 per cent to 39,200 yen following media reports that its popular Switch game console and game titles will become available in China via tech giant Tencent. 

Sony rose 0.60 per cent to 5,331 yen while Uniqlo operator Fast Retailing added 2.09 per cent to 64,590.

Among individual shares in China, China Life Insurance climbed 4.29 per cent to 31.38 yuan and Ping An Insurance rose 3.20 per cent to 87.00 yuan.

China Merchants Securities closed 3.12 per cent higher at 18.52 yuan and First Capital Securities gained 1.45 per cent to 7.72 yuan.