TOKYO, Aug 12 (Reuters) - Japan's benchmark stock index
jumped to a seven-month high on Friday, with SoftBank Group and
other tech heavyweights leading the charge, as signs of cooling
U.S. inflation raised hopes for smaller Federal Reserve rate
hikes and boosted risk appetite.
The Nikkei share average rose as much as 2.5% to
28,507.31, its highest since Jan. 18, before ending the morning
session 2.37% higher at 28,479.99. It has risen 1.08% so far
this week in what would be its second straight weekly gain.
The broader Topix had gained 1.83% to 1,969.02 by
the midday break and was on course to rise 1.12% for the week.
Japanese markets were closed on Thursday for a local
Data released on Wednesday showed that U.S. consumer prices
were unchanged in July compared with June, prompting bets that
the Fed could slow down its rate hikes.
"The Japanese market is stronger today than I had expected,"
said Jun Morita, general manager of the research department at
Chibagin Asset Management. "One reason for not buying stocks has
been eliminated after investors confirmed the slower pace of
SoftBank Group jumped 6.85% and was the biggest
boost for the Nikkei after the technology investor said it would
book a $34.1 billion gain by trimming its stake in Alibaba Group
Chip-making equipment maker Tokyo Electron advanced
4.75% and robot maker Fanuc climbed 5%.
Honda Motor rose 3.15% after the automaker raised
its outlook for full-year operating profit thanks to a weaker
All but one of the Tokyo Stock Exchange's 33 industry
sub-indexes rose, with electric machinery makers
leading the rally with a 2.74% gain.
(Reporting by Junko Fujita; Editing by Subhranshu Sahu)