Japanese shares end higher on recovery hopes, Topix hits 20-year peak
TOKYO, March 16 (Reuters) - Japanese shares closed higher on Tuesday, with the Topix index hitting 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.
The broader Topix .TOPX climbed 0.65% to 1,981.50, its highest close since May 14, 1991. SoftBank Group was the biggest boost to the index, followed by Sony 6758.T, which rose 1.62%.
The Nikkei share average .N225 gained 0.52% to 29,921.09.
"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 2.41%, Tokyo Electron 8035.T rising 1.54% and Advantest 6857.T jumping 3.37%.
In the airline sector, ANA Holdings 9202.T and Japan Airlines 9201.T rose 2.35% and 3.85%, 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 1.42% 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 1.44% after surging up to 24% on Monday on news about a capital tie-up with Japan Post Holdings 6178.T. nL1N2LD032
Ebara Corp 6361.T was the biggest gainer in the Nikkei index, rising 6.25%, followed by CyberAgent 4751.T, which rose 4.46%. Kawasaki Kisen 9107.T followed with a 4.38% rise.
(Reporting by Junko Fujita; Editing by Devika Syamnath)