May 24, 2024

Supplier’s Decision Lifts Shares of Japan’s Carmakers

The Renesas Electronics Corporation, a provider of microprocessors that control brakes, engines and transmissions, said operations would resume June 15 at its Naka factory in Ibaraki prefecture, where production had been halted after the March 11 earthquake and tsunami.

Renesas said earlier that it intended to restart partial manufacturing at the Naka factory in July. The company said it was working “with more than 2,000 additional support workers dispatched from outside Renesas Electronics companies to help speed up the resumption of production as much as possible.”

“The schedule assumes a stable source of electric power and no further damage from subsequent aftershocks,” the company said.

The news was welcomed by Japan’s automotive sector, which was badly hobbled after the earthquake spawned a tsunami that slammed the northeastern coast, leaving up to 30,000 people dead or missing. The region was host to a vast network of auto parts suppliers that were wiped off the map in the disaster.

Japan’s Nikkei 225 index closed Friday marginally down, less than 4 points, to 9,682.21, with the automakers posting gains. Toyota Motor Corporation rose 3.1 percent, Honda Motor bumped up by 2.3 percent and Nissan Motor jumped 3.6 percent.

The Renesas news came hours before Akio Toyoda, president and chief executive of Toyota, told reporters at a news conference that ’ Toyota would not return to predisaster production levels until the end of the year. The Nikkei was one of a handful of exchanges open in Asia on the Good Friday holiday.

South Korea’s Kospi index was flat at 2,197.82, and mainland China’s Shanghai composite index slid 0.5 percent to 3,010.52 as investors booked profits following a week of gains. The smaller Shenzhen composite index was down 0.6 percent to 1,274.73.

Markets in the United States and Europe were closed Friday ahead of the Easter holiday and will reopen on Monday. Exchanges in Hong Kong, India, the Philippines, Australia, New Zealand and Singapore were also closed.

On Wall Street, strong earnings from large companies like Apple and UnitedHealth lifted stocks broadly higher Thursday. Gains were spread across the market, with all 10 company groups that make up the Standard Poor’s 500-stock index closing the day with gains.

The Dow Jones industrial average rose 52.45 points to close at 12,506 on Thursday. The S. P. rose 7.02 points to 1,337 while the Nasdaq rose 17.65 points to 2,820.

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