TOKYO -- After-hours buying of big baskets of Japanese equities has created an undercurrent of support for the stock market in back-to-back sessions.
A 16.4 billion yen ($146 million) purchase of components of the broad Topix index was logged after 3 p.m. Monday, following a similar 16.5 billion yen transaction Friday. Nearly 180 billion yen in such basket trades were executed in the two weeks through Monday, forming a palpable presence on days when trading on the Tokyo Stock Exchange's first section dipped below the psychologically important 2 trillion yen level.
Judging by the size and timing of these moves, market watchers suspect that public pensions funds are behind all the buying. One veteran trader at a leading brokerage reckons that civil servant or teacher retirement funds are adding to their Japanese stock holdings.
The orders were placed through ToSTNeT, the TSE's after-hours trading system typically used to execute weighty orders with minimum impact on share prices. Buying by brokerages grappling with the large order volumes appears to have spilled over into regular trading hours.