Japanese shares gain on recovery hopes, Topix at 20-year high
TOKYO, March 16 (Reuters) - Japanese shares gained on Tuesday and the Topix index hit its best level in 20 years, as high-flying technology stocks tracked Wall Street higher on hopes for a strong economic recovery in the United States, one of Japan's biggest trading partners.
The broader Topix .TOPX climbed 0.57% to 1,979.92 by 0154 GMT, rising to its highest since May 1991. The Nikkei share average .N225 gained 0.85% to 30,018.92, reclaiming its 30,000 mark for the first time since Feb. 25.
"The market sentiment is very strong. It's lifted by the optimism that most of Japanese companies would benefit from the recovery of the U.S. economy," said Hideyuki Ishiguro, senior strategist at Daiwa Securities.
"Investor confidence was boosted also because the U.S. bond yields retreated. Cash payments to American individuals, followed by the passage of the U.S. economic relief package, is another reason to support the market."
The S&P 500 and Dow Jones Industrial Average closed at record highs on Monday, while the tech-heavy Nasdaq climbed over 1%. .N
Japan's technology shares advanced too, with SoftBank Group 9984.T jumping 2.6%, Tokyo Electron 8035.T rising 1.56% and Advantest 6857.T jumping 3.6%.
In the airline sector, ANA Holdings 9202.T and Japan Airlines 9201.T rose 2.91% and 3.81%, respectively, tracking U.S. peers Delta Air Lines DAL.N and Southwest Airlines LUV.N, which said leisure bookings were rising. nL1N2LD0WF
Travel agency H.I.S. 9603.T gained 2.09% despite the COVID-19 crisis leading it to a 7.9 billion yen ($72.34 million) quarterly net loss.
E-commerce firm Rakuten Inc 4755.T fell 3.11% after surging up to 24% on Monday on news about a capital tie-up with Japan Post Holdings 6178.T. nL1N2LD032
The stocks that gained the most among the top 30 core Topix names were Nintendo Co 7974.T, up 3.98%, followed by SoftBank Group.
The underperformers among the Topix 30 were Toyota Motor 7203.T, down 0.92%, and Mitsubishi UFJ Financial Group 8306.T, 0.86% lower.
($1 = 109.2000 yen)
(Reporting by Junko Fujita; Editing by Devika Syamnath)