TOKYO, March 18 (Reuters) - Japanese shares jumped on
Thursday, with the Topix index hitting a 30-year high, propelled
by the U.S. Federal Reserve's projection for a rapid economic
growth and pledge for low rates.
The broader Topix advanced 1.23% to close at
2,008.51, crossing the 2,000 mark for the first time since May
1991. The Nikkei index jumped 1.01% to 30,216.75, its highest
close in three weeks.
"Investors have a lot of reasons to sell stocks at the end
of the fiscal year end March, but today their appetite for
making bets greatly exceeded the sell-off pressure," said
Takatoshi Itoshima, strategist at Pictet Asset Management.
"The Fed gave investors confidence by brushing off
uncertainties of the rate outlook by pledging to keep its
interest rate at close to zero."
The S&P 500 and Dow Jones Industrial Average closed at
record highs on Wednesday after the Fed said the U.S. economy is
heading for its strongest growth in nearly 40 years, fuelled by
massive federal fiscal stimulus and the roll-out of COVID-19
In Japan, chip-related shares advanced, with Nikkei
heavyweights Tokyo Electron jumping 2.72%, Fanuc
gaining 1.94% and Advantest rising 3.32%.
The airliners gained, with ANA Holdings and Japan
Airlines rising 1.32% and 1.46%, respectively, as the
Japanese government's advisory panel on coronavirus
countermeasures approved a plan to let the state of emergency
expire in the Tokyo area as scheduled on March 21.
Shikoku Electric Power surged 5.26% after a media
report said a court ruled that the utility can resume operations
of its only nuclear reactor.
Mitsubishi UFJ Financial Group, up 5.15%, and
Toyota Motor, which rose 4.12%, were the biggest
advancers on the Topix 30.
The underperformers among the Topix 30 were SoftBank Group
, down 1.73%, followed by Astellas Pharma,
(Reporting by Junko Fujita; Editing by Devika Syamnath)