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Japan’s Nikkei rises as Powell comments lift Wall Street

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TOKYO — Japan’s Nikkei index rose on Thursday, tracking Wall Street’s sharp gains overnight after U.S. Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell struck a more dovish tone than the market expected.

By 0150 GMT, the Nikkei share average was up 1.1% at 28,274.82, set to snap four straight sessions of losses. But the index pared some early gains, with 60% of stocks trading on the Tokyo bourse’s prime section witnessing a fall.

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The broader Topix inched up 0.18% to 1,989.03.

Wall Street ended sharply higher on Wednesday after Powell said the central bank might scale back the pace of its interest rate hikes as soon as December.

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“Market participants are still cautions as they await U.S. employment data due out soon,” said Takatoshi Itoshima, strategist at Pictet Asset Management Japan.

“The market could go up or down once investors digested the slower pace of U.S. rate hikes later in the month. There could also be a concern about corporate earnings worsening on the back of slowing economy.”

The U.S. Labor Department’s closely watched non-farm payrolls data is due on Friday.

Heavyweight chip-related shares tracked the Philadelphia Semiconductor index’s 5.85% gain.

Tokyo Electron jumped 4.17% and Advantest rose 3.5%. Technology investor SoftBank Group climbed 2.3%.

Eisai jumped 6.24%, extending its sharp gains from the previous session, as the drugmaker plans to seek full approval of its experimental Alzheimer’s drug lecanemab in the United States, Europe and Japan.

The insurance and banking sectors fell 1.57% and 1.37%, respectively, as U.S. Treasury yields declined.

Regional banking groups Shizuoka Financial Group fell 3.68% and was the biggest loser on the Nikkei, and Fukuoka Financial Group lost 2.71%.

Insurers Sompo Holdings 2.92% and MS&AD Insurance Group Holdings 2.37%. (Reporting by Junko Fujita; editing by Uttaresh.V)



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