By Stanley White
TOKYO, Dec 25 (Reuters) - Japanese shares were little changed in holiday-thinned trade on Friday but some investors bought pro-cyclical stocks that are expected to perform well next year as the global economy recovers from the coronavirus pandemic.
Shares in the shipping, raw materials, and real estate sectors rose, while tech firms fell in overall activity substantially thinned by the closure of many financial markets for Christmas holidays.
Sentiment was underpinnnd by Britain and the European Union securing a free-trade deal, and further soothed earlier in the week by U.S. lawmakers agreeing a $900 billion economic stimulus package. roll out of coronavirus vaccinations and expectations that interest rates will remain low for a prolonged period have also brightened prospects for equities next year.
"For policy and financial markets a goldilocks scenario is likely to continue next year due to a gradual economic recovery and monetary easing," analysts at Mizuho Securities said in a research memo.
Nippon Yusen KK 9101.T rose 6.99% after the marine shipping company raised its earnings forecasts, which also lifted the share prices of its rivals.
There were 159 advancers on the Nikkei index against 60 decliners.
The volume of shares traded on the Tokyo Stock Exchange's main board .TOPX was 0.32 billion, compared to the average of 1.26 billion in the past 30 days.
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