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Japan’s Nikkei inches higher on U.S. futures gain, weak yen

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TOKYO — Japan’s Nikkei share average reversed course to inch up on Friday, as sentiment was boosted by higher U.S. futures after Wall Street losses overnight and the weakened yen.

The Nikkei inched up 0.03% at 26,411.94 by the midday break and is set to rise 1.12% for the week.

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The broader Topix gained 0.13% to 1,918.17 and is set to rise 0.81% 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,” 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.”

Air-conditioning maker Daikin Industries rose 2.32% to lift the Nikkei the most. Phone company KDDI rose 0.71%.

Steel makers jumped 2.49% to lead the 33 industry sub-indexes of the Tokyo Stock Exchange, with Nippon Steel and JFE Holdings gaining 2.9% and 1.62%, respectively.

Fujitsu General jumped 3.75% after Reuters reported Fujitsu has launched an auction process for its air-conditioning manufacturing business. Fujitsu lost 1.08%.

Chip-equipment maker Tokyo Electron fell 0.52% to weigh on the Nikkei the most. Technology investor SoftBank Group lost 0.53% and online medical services platform M3 slipped 1.79%. Of the Nikkei components, 134 advanced and 86 declined, while 5 were flat.

The volume of shares traded on the exchange’s main board was 0.47 billion, compared to the average of 1.17 billion in the past 30 days. (Reporting by Junko Fujita; Editing by Rashmi Aich)

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