Nikkei bounces back as semiconductor-related shares gain
SYDNEY, April 14 (Reuters) - Japanese shares rebounded on Tuesday, led by semiconductor-related companies and other tech stocks, although trading was subdued as investors awaited earnings from prominent companies.
The benchmark Nikkei average .N225 rose 1.9% to 19,402.32 by the midday break, with the volume of shares traded on the main board valuing only at 989 billion yen ($9.2 billion), well below the average.
The Nikkei's volatility index .JNIV , a measure of investors' volatility expectations based on option pricing and considered to be a fear gauge, slid 10.7% to 38.01, its lowest level in three weeks.
Shares of semiconductor-making equipment producers were in demand following a 1.4% gain overnight in the U.S. Philadelphia semiconductor index .SOX .
Silicon wafer producer Sumco Corp 3436.T jumped 4.8%, test device maker Advantest Corp 6857.T gained 4.9% and chip-making gear manufacturer Tokyo Electron Ltd 8035.T rose 2.7%.
The Nikkei's heavyweight SoftBank Group Corp 9984.T climbed 3.3%, shrugging off an earlier announcement that its Vision Fund will post a 1.8 trillion yen loss in the year ended March. that is going to result in the entire group's first annual loss in 15 years, some kind of disastrous performance had already been priced in, analysts said.
FamilyMart Co Ltd 8028.T jumped 6.8% after the convenience store operator forecast a 37.8% increase in net profit for the current business year ending in February. broader Topix .TOPX rose 1.0% to 1,419.39, with all but four of the 33 sector sub-indexes on the exchange trading in negative territory.
Retailer .IRETL.T , services .ISVCS.T and electric machinery .IELEC.T were the top three performing sectors on the main bourse.
Bucking the overall firmness, stocks of major construction firms came under pressure as Shimizu Corp 1803.T dropped 4.4% after the builder moved towards suspending construction in all seven prefectures that have been put under an emergency decree.
The rest of Japan's top four construction companies, Obayashi Corp 1802.T , Taisei Corp 1801.T and Kajima Corp 1812.T were down between 3.6% and 3.8%.
Elsewhere, the index of Mothers start-up shares .MTHR advanced 4.2%. ($1 = 107.6500 yen)
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