Japanese shares end higher as robust earnings lift sentiment
TOKYO, Feb 3 (Reuters) - Japanese shares ended higher on Wednesday, with transport stocks leading gains, as Wall Street's tech-driven rally overnight and strong domestic earnings forecasts boosted market sentiment.
The Nikkei share average .N225 rose 1% to 28,646.50, while the broader Topix .TOPX jumped 1.3% to 1,871.09.
"Robust earnings of global IT firms have boosted investor expectations for better earnings of Japanese companies, while worries about a short-squeeze triggered by U.S. retail investors had been erased," said Koichi Kurose, chief strategist at Resona Asset Management.
U.S. stocks finished sharply higher for a second straight day overnight, helped by gains in Amazon.com AMZN.O and Google-parent Alphabet GOOGL.O ahead of their results, and by optimism over progress on a U.S. pandemic relief package. .N
All but one of the 33 sector sub-indexes on the Tokyo exchange traded higher, with pandemic-hit airlines and land transport stocks leading gains.
Japan Airlines 9201.T jumped 6.56% while ANA Holdings 9202.T rose 2.9%.
Central Japan Railway 9022.T , the operator of the bullet trains connecting Tokyo and Osaka, gained 5.47%. West Japan Railway 9021.T rose 6.86% and East Japan Railway 9020.T jumped 5.48%.
Transport shares were buoyed by hopes that a drop in the number of daily COVID-19 infections would boost travel, Kurose said.
Japan on Tuesday extended the state of emergency in Tokyo and other regions for another month, seeking to keep the upper hand over a COVID-19 outbreak, although daily case numbers have begun to edge down. Motor 7211.T , up 11.34%, led gains on the Nikkei 225 index after it cut its annual net loss forecast on Tuesday.
Panasonic 6752.T rose 3.84% after the electronics conglomerate said its battery business supplying Tesla Inc TSLA.O would be profitable this fiscal year, and raised its full-year operating profit forecast by more than half.
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