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Japanese shares end higher on strong U.S. job data, SoftBank jumps | Reuters

Japanese shares closed higher on Monday, as strong U.S. jobs data lifted optimism about a recovery in the world’s largest economy, prompting investors to buy index heavyweights SoftBank Group and Fast Retailing along with chip-related stocks.

The Nikkei share average ended 0.82% higher at 30,089.25, hitting the 30,000-mark for the first time in more than two weeks. The broader Topix gained 0.6% to close at 1,983.54.

The U.S. labour department said on Friday non-farm payrolls surged by 916,000 jobs last month, the biggest gain since last August and well above economists’ median forecast of 647,000.

“Investors have reacted very positively to the strong data for U.S. employment,” said Shoichi Arisawa, general manager of the investment research department at IwaiCosmo Securities.

“U.S. bond yields rose shortly after the jobs data came out and that is boosting Japanese bank shares as well.”

Index heavyweights Fast Retailing, an operator of Uniqlo brand clothing stores, gained 2.35%, while tech start-up investor SoftBank Group rose 2.1%.

Chip-related shares rose, with Advantest rising 1.9%, Tokyo Electron gaining 0.36%, and Shin-Etsu Chemical adding 0.16%.

Banking and securities sectors also advanced, with Nomura Holdings jumping 4.3%. Mitsubishi UFJ Financial Group gained 3.05%, Sumitomo Mitsui Financial Group rose 3.21%, and Mizuho Financial Group advanced 2.81%.

Shipping firms received a big boost after Mitsui OSK Lines , up 5.71%, on Friday raised its annual current profit forecast to 120 billion yen ($1.09 billion) from 95 billion yen.

Nippon Yusen jumped 5.66% and Kawasaki Kisen climbed 4.86%, helping their sector become the top gainer among the 33 sector sub-indexes.

The stocks that gained the most among the top 30 core Topix names were Mitsui & Co up 4.65 %, followed by Sumitomo Mitsui Financial Group Inc.

The underperformers among the Topix 30 were Keyence , down 1.89%, and Recruit Holdings that fell 1.59%. ($1 = 110.5600 yen) (Editing by Uttaresh.V)

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