Japanese shares track Wall Street rise, caution ahead of holiday caps gains


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TOKYO — Japanese share rose on Friday, tracking Wall Street’s overnight gains, with technology heavyweights leading the way, but the upside was limited ahead of local new year holidays.

The Nikkei rose 0.29% to 26,168.45 by the midday break, snapping two consecutive sessions of losses. The index is set to inch down 0.2% for the week and slip 9% for the year.

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The broader Topix gained 0.27% to 1,900.46, on course to be flat for the week and lose 4.6% for the year.

Wall Street’s main indexes closed higher overnight, led by growth stocks in light trading, as U.S. unemployment data signaled the Federal Reserve’s interest rate hikes might be starting to dent labor market strength in its bid to fight inflation.

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“Japanese market opened higher, supported by gains in U.S. equities but gains are limited ahead of local holidays,” said Shoichi Arisawa, general manager of the investment research department at IwaiCosmo Securities.

“Investors are worried there may be something happening in the U.S. during the holiday. There are many uncertainties in overseas markets.”

Japanese market will reopen on Wednesday after the nation’s new year break.

Fast Retailing, the owner of Uniqlo clothing brand, rose 1.1% and was the biggest support for the Nikkei. Technology investor SoftBank Group gained 1.09%.

Shipping firms rose 1.03% and were the best performers among the 33 industry sub-idexes on the Tokyo bourse.

Staffing agency Recruit Holdings fell 1.34% and weighed on the Nikkei the most. Drug maker Chugai Pharmaceutical fell 1.06%. Of the Nikkei components, 141 stocks rose and 77 declined, while 7 were flat.

The volume of shares traded on the exchange’s main board was 0.42 billion, compared to the average of 1.19 billion in the past 30 days. (Reporting by Junko Fujita; Editing by Krishna Chandra Eluri)


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