TOKYO, March 15 (Reuters) - Japanese shares inched higher on
Monday as optimism around the passage of a massive U.S. stimulus
package boosted cyclical stocks, although declines in SoftBank
Group and other tech companies limited gains.
The Nikkei share average edged up 0.17% to close at
29,766.97, while the broader Topix gained 0.91% to close
"Today's market in Japan is a reflection of the U.S. market
on Friday," said Shoichi Arisawa, general manager of the
investment research department at IwaiCosmo Securities.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose to its fifth
consecutive record high on Friday as the U.S. House of
Representatives gave final approval to the $1.9 trillion
COVID-19 relief bill.
"Investors are buying cyclical shares that would benefit
from a recovery of the U.S. economy, which would be accelerated
by the huge economic package that was approved," Arisawa said.
Japanese transport and materials stocks advanced.
Ship builder Mitsui E&S Holdings jumped 7.78%,
while shipping firms Kawasaki Kisen and Nippon Yusen
rose 7.02% and 4.74%, respectively.
ANA Holdings jumped 4.43% and Japan Airlines
E-commerce firm Rakuten surged 24% after announcing
a capital tie-up with postal giant Japan Post Holdings,
making it the biggest gainer in the Nikkei. Japan Post gained
Japan's tech shares fell tracking Nasdaq's decline on
Friday, with Nikkei heavyweight SoftBank Group down
Tokyo Electron lost 1.56% and Advantest
Amid rising U.S. bond yields, Japan's largest banks gained
the most among the top 30 core Topix names, with Mitsubishi UFJ
Financial Group up 4.12%, followed by Sumitomo Mitsui
Financial Group, which gained 3.55%.
The underperformers among the Topix 30 were SoftBank Group,
followed by Nidec losing 2.24%.
(Reporting by Junko Fujita; Editing by Devika Syamnath)