TOKYO, Jan 25 (Reuters) - Japanese shares shook off early weakness on Monday, led by tech and pharma stocks, as U.S. futures rose on hopes that lawmakers would soon pass a massive economic stimulus to revive growth in the world's largest economy.
"U.S. markets moved irregularly last week but investors were relieved this morning after seeing the rise in U.S. futures," said Masahiro Ichikawa, chief market strategist, Sumitomo Mitsui DS Asset Management.
The Joe Biden administration and Democratic and Republican lawmakers discussing a new $1.9 trillion in coronavirus relief agreed on Sunday that the most important priority should be producing and efficiently distributing a vaccine. Dow and S&P 500 ended modestly lower on Friday, dragged down by losses in blue-chip technology stalwarts Intel INTC.O and IBM (NYSE: IBM ) IBM.N following their quarterly results, as hopes for a full economic reopening in the coming months waned. .N
Meanwhile, tech shares advanced further in Japan. Toshiba 6502.T surged 15.25% after the Tokyo Stock Exchange approved on Friday the company's return to the bourse's first section. 7731.T jumped 6.4%, making it the top gainer in the Nikkei index, while Shin-Etsu Chemical 4063.T rose 1.92% and Renesas Electronics 6723.T added 2.6%.
Drugmakers rose on renewed hopes for COVID-19 vaccine roll-outs. Takeda Pharmaceutical 4502.T added 3.71% after Japan's biggest drugmaker last week announced the start of a study of Moderna Inc's MRNA.O coronavirus vaccine in Japan. 4523.T rose 3.07% and Astellas Pharma 4503.T gained 2.37%.
Sumitomo Corp 8053.T rose 1.55% despite news that it would book an additional impairment loss of about 30 billion yen ($289 million) on its Ambatovy nickel project in Madagascar for the December quarter. media reported the trading house would stop investing in new oil development projects as it shifts away from fossil fuels businesses. top percentage losers in the index were Sharp 6753.T , down 3.39%, Kobe Steel 5406.T , down 2.97%, and Sony Corp 6758.T , down 2.81%.
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