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Japan’s Nikkei ends higher on U.S. futures gains, weak yen

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TOKYO — Japan’s Nikkei share average reversed its early losses to end higher on Friday, as sentiment was boosted by higher U.S. futures after Wall Street losses overnight and a weaker yen.

The Nikkei ended the day up 0.56% at 26,553.53, having fallen as much as 0.3% earlier in the day tracking Wall Street losses. The index posted a 1.66% weekly gain.

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The broader Topix rose 0.59% to 1,926.87 and gained 1.25% for the week.

U.S. stock indexes closed lower overnight after data pointing to a tight labor market renewed concerns the Federal Reserve will continue its aggressive path of rate hikes that could lead the economy into a recession.

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“Japanese shares are firm compared with weak Wall Street performance overnight,” said Seiichi Suzuki, chief equity market analyst at Tokai Tokyo Research Institute.

“Investors seemed to bet that Wall Street will gain in the next session, which has lifted the Nikkei as well. The weakened yen also improved sentiment.”

Fast Retailing, the owner of Uniqlo brand, rose 0.94% boosting the Nikkei the most. Air-conditioning maker Daikin Industries rose 2.09% and phone company KDDI rose 1.27%.

Airlines jumped 3.18% to lead the 33 industry sub-indexes of the Tokyo Stock Exchange, after Prime Minister Fumio Kishida said the nation will consider revising COVID-19 measures as early as this spring, downgrading the disease to a less serious category.

Fujitsu General ended up 0.84%, after jumping more than 5% as Reuters reported Fujitsu has launched an auction process for its air-conditioning manufacturing business. Fujitsu lost 0.87%.

Chip-equipment maker Tokyo Electron fell 0.18% to weigh on the Nikkei the most. Online medical services platform M3 slipped 1.44%. (Reporting by Junko Fujita; Editing by Rashmi Aich and Eileen Soreng)

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