Japanese shares rally on upbeat earnings, U.S. stimulus hopes

TOKYO, Feb 5 (Reuters) – Japanese shares ended more than 1% higher on Friday, following Wall Street’s rally overnight, driven by upbeat earnings from domestic firms and expectations of a large U.S. stimulus package.

Nikkei share average jumped 1.54% to 28,779.19. The broader Topix gained 1.38% at 1,890.95.

The S&P 500 and Nasdaq posted record closing highs overnight, as Democrats pushed ahead with U.S. President Joe Biden’s proposed $1.9 trillion stimulus plan without bipartisan support.

“A bigger economic stimulus package in the U.S. is good for the global economy and that optimism is lifting economic-sensitive shares in Japan,” said Masahiro Ichikawa, chief market strategist at Sumitomo Mitsui DS Asset Management.

Japanese automakers jumped, with Mazda Motor surging 18.52% after cutting its loss forecast, making it the biggest gainer in the Nikkei index.

Mitsubishi Motor jumped 8.13% and Nissan Motor gained 7.51%.

NTT Data jumped 9.63% after Nomura Securities raised its target price on the information network builder’s stock.

Railway companies, which are also considered sensitive to economic news, gained. Central Japan Railway rose 5.14% and West Japan Railway increased 6.3%.

Takeda Pharmaceutical edged up 0.33% after the drug maker said its nine-month profit more than doubled from a year earlier.

Tokyo Rope surged 10.13% as the steel maker opposed a bid by Nippon Steel, which is trying to boost its stake in the smaller affiliate.

Japan Asia Group jumped 8.96% after an activist fund launched a counter bid for the energy and environment firm, which has agreed to be bought by Carlyle Group.

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