Roundup: Tokyo stocks close higher on Wall Street's gains, tech issues advance

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TOKYO, June 24 (Xinhua) -- Tokyo stocks rallied Friday, helped by Wall Street's solid performance overnight particularly by technology-related issues.

The 225-issue Nikkei Stock Average gained 320.72 points, or 1.23 percent, from Thursday to close the day at 26,491.97.

The broader Topix index, meanwhile, added 14.98 points, or 0.81 percent, to finish at 1,866.72.

Local brokers said that the market's recent volatility had been driven primarily by the U.S. Federal Reserve's aggressive monetary policy to tackle inflation and concerns that further interest rate hikes by the Fed could trigger a recession in the world's largest economy.

They highlighted, however, that the environment in Japan, for the time being at least, was different, as the central bank here has steadfastly stuck to its ultra-loose monetary policy.

"Recent losses in domestic equities were driven by concerns about an economic slowdown due to the Federal Reserve's tightening monetary policy but Japan's environment is different," Shigetoshi Kamada, a general manager with Tachibana Securities' research department, was quoted as saying.

"Japan's stock market is in a favorable position. But whether this situation will continue in the long term is questionable and it will depend on the direction of U.S. interest rates," Kamada added.

Other analysts speculated that perhaps U.S. shares had reached a bottom and this encouraged buying, along with U.S. stock futures pointing toward further gains during trading hours and other major Asian bourses posting gains.

"Investor sentiment was also lifted on hopes that U.S. shares have bottomed out after the recent slump," Shingo Ide, chief equity strategist at the NLI Research Institute, was quoted as saying.

"Stocks extended gains in the afternoon on firm U.S. stock futures and advances in Asian markets," said Ide.

Blue chips gained traction helped by their U.S. peers' gains overnight with Nikkei heavyweight Tokyo Electron climbing 4 percent, to become the Nikkei's biggest winner.

Technology investor SoftBank Group, another heavily-weighted Nikkei component, added 2.4 percent and among other tech-oriented issues finding favor, Screen Holdings closed the day 2.7 percent higher.

Air conditioning maker Daikin Industries, meanwhile, was another notable gainer, jumping 3.4 percent by the close.

Drug maker Shionogi leapt 5.0 percent, after announcing a hefty share buyback plan a day earlier to the tune of up to 50 billion yen's (371 million U.S. dollars) worth of shares.

Bucking the upward trend, exporters came under pressure as the yen crept up versus the U.S. dollar, and automakers skidded down, with Honda Motor and Mazda Motor reversing 1.4 and 2.6 percent respectively.

On the Prime Market on Friday, 1,244.47 million shares changed hands, rising from Thursday's volume of 1,082.29 million shares.

The turnover on the final trading day of the week came to 2,958.48 billion yen (21.95 billion U.S. dollars). Enditem

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