TOKYO, May 20 (Xinhua) -- Tokyo stocks ended slightly higher Thursday as chip-related issues advanced following gains made overnight by their U.S. counterparts, although the market's upside was capped by concerns over Japan's COVID-19 situation.
The 225-issue Nikkei Stock Average added 53.80 points, or 0.19 percent, from Wednesday to close the day at 28,098.25.
The broader Topix index of all First Section issues on the Tokyo Stock Exchange, meanwhile, gained 0.68 points, or 0.04 percent, to finish at 1,895.92.
Local dealers said that chip-linked issues found favor tracking the Philadelphia Semiconductor index higher overnight.
They added, however, that concerns remained about Japan's sluggish vaccination rollout and whether or not the Olympics will be held this summer in Tokyo as rising coronavirus cases have led to multiple major urban regions being put under a state of emergency amid a fourth wave of infections.
"The Japanese market does not have its own reasons for a movement right now after most of corporate outlook is out," Takatoshi Itoshima, strategist at Pictet Asset Management, was quoted as saying.
"While there are uncertainties surrounding Japan that weigh on sentiment, such as slow rollouts of vaccines and whether and how the Olympics will be held," Itoshima added.
But investors continuing to seek out bargains saw the index remain in positive territory, brokers here said, with some exporters lifted by upbeat trade data.
"Japanese stocks are now undervalued relative to their earnings growth projected for this business year, prompting investors to buy on dips when the Nikkei falls below the 28,000 level," Toshikazu Horiuchi, equity strategist at IwaiCosmo Securities Co., was quoted as saying.
"The trade data was a positive cue to the market and boosted exporters including automakers and electronics," he added.
By the close of play, textile and apparel, metal product and rubber product issues comprised those that gained the most.
Among chip issues advancing, Advantest climbed 3.5 percent, while Tokyo Electron rose just over 2 percent. Taiyo Yuden, meanwhile, ended the day 4.9 percent higher.
Exporters gaining ground included Mazda Motor accelerating 3.3 percent, while Nissan Motor gained 1.5 percent.
Cyclical issues lost ground on concerns for the outlook of the global economy, with steelmakers among those slipping.
JFE Holdings Inc. lost 6 percent, while Nippon Steel dropped 4.8 percent.
Issues that rose outpaced those that fell by 1,385 to 703 on the First Section, while 104 ended the day unchanged.
On the main section on Thursday, 994.65 million shares changed hands, dropping from Wednesday's volume of 1,164.84 million shares.
The turnover on the penultimate trading day of the week came to 2,173.42 billion yen (19.93 billion U.S. dollars).