January 5, 2018 / 6:46 AM / 19 days ago

Nikkei probes 26-year highs, Toshiba gains

TOKYO, Jan 5 (Reuters) - Japan’s Nikkei share average extended the previous session’s gains on Friday, probing 26-year highs as banking and brokerage firms rose, while Toshiba stocks strengthened on news of a buyer for its Westinghouse Electric unit.

The Nikkei was up 0.9 percent at 23,714.53, touching levels unseen since January 1992.

Japan’s markets were closed for from Monday to Wednesday in the first week of the year. In the holiday-shortened week, the Nikkei has risen 4.2 percent since opening on Thursday.

“These markets have a lot more legs in them,” said Gavin Parry, managing director at Parry International Trading Limited. “The economy is growing, and the yen is lower as the Bank of Japan expands its balance sheet.”

Outperforming sectors also included iron and steel , up 2 percent, non-ferrous metal, up 1.9 percent, and sea transportation, up 1.8 percent.

The broader Topix added 0.9 percent to 1,880.34, its highest since November 1991, after it rallied 2.6 percent in the previous session.

Advancers outnumbered decliners 420 to 205, with 52 issues ending unchanged.

Shares of Toshiba Corp were up 2.2 percent. An affiliate of Canada’s Brookfield Asset Management said on Thursday it would acquire Westinghouse Electric Co LLC, the bankrupt nuclear services company owned by Toshiba, for $4.6 billion.

The banking subindex was 1.6 percent higher. Mitsubishi UFJ Financial Group gained 2.3 percent.

Helped by the market gains, the securities subindex rose 1.9 percent after surging 4.9 percent in the previous session. Nomura Holdings added 3.5 percent.

SoftBank Group Corp slipped 0.7 percent. Uber Technologies Inc co-founder Travis Kalanick is selling nearly a third of his 10 percent stake in the ride-services company for about $1.4 billion, a person familiar with the matter said on Thursday, as part of part of a deal struck by a SoftBank-led consortium taking a 17.5 percent stake in Uber.

Department store operator Takashimaya was down 3.24 percent, after it said on Thursday that December sales at its 13 stores eked out a 0.9 percent rise from the year-earlier month, slowing from November’s 3.9 percent rise. (Reporting by Lisa Twaronite; Editing by Kim Coghill and Sam Holmes)

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