Japan’s Nikkei rises as tech stocks track Nasdaq higher

TOKYO, Feb 2 (Reuters) – Japan’s Nikkei share average rose slightly on Thursday, led by technology heavyweights after the Nasdaq jumped overnight, while a stronger yen weighed on exporters and limited the index’s advance.

By 0217 GMT, the Nikkei index was up 0.2% at 27,394.52. Of the Nikkei components, 50 stocks rose, 174 fell and one traded flat.

“The Nikkei was lifted by technology stocks, but overall the market was not strong,” said Chihiro Ohta, assistant general manager at the investment research and investor services at SMBC Nikko Securities.

The S&P 500 and the Nasdaq closed sharply higher overnight after Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell acknowledged that inflation was starting to ease, in remarks he made following a quarter-point rate hike by the US central bank.

Uniqlo brand owner Fast Retailing rose 1.81% and was the biggest boost to the Nikkei, followed by chip-related Tokyo Electron and Advantest, which rose 2.97% and 3.06%, respectively.

Technology investor SoftBank Group gained 1.17%.

The broader Topix was down 0.27% at 1,966.93.

Toyota Motor fell 1.02%, dragging the Topix the most. Nissan Motor and Honda Motor lost 2.39% and 1.08%, respectively.

Mitsubishi UFJ Financial Group fell 1.55%.

The banking sector fell 1.35%.

Sumitomo Chemical tanked 7.46% after the maker of industrial chemical products and electronic materials cut its operating and net profit forecast to zero. (Reporting by Junko Fujita; Editing by Subhranshu Sahu)

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