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Japanese shares end higher as upbeat earnings forecasts aid sentiment

TOKYO, Feb 1 (Reuters) - Japanese shares closed higher on Monday, after two straight sessions of declines, as upbeat earnings forecasts and gains in beaten-down chipmakers lifted sentiment.

The Nikkei share average ended 1.55% higher at 28,091.05 and the broader Topix gained 1.16% to 1,829.84.

“Investors are buying shares that were sold more than they should have last week,” said Norihiro Fujito, chief investment strategist, Mitsubishi UFJ Morgan Stanley Securities. “Last week’s sell-downs were driven by sentimental reasons.”

Japanese stocks had tumbled for two days as investors grew nervous about further market turbulences in the U.S. caused by the headline-grabbing battle between retail investors and funds that specialise in shorting stocks.

Asian shares also rallied and U.S. stock futures recouped early losses as newly empowered retail investors turned their attention to precious metals, promising a respite to some hard-hit hedge funds.

NEC surged 12.81%, making it the biggest gainer in the Nikkei 225 index, after the computer network services company reported a 5.7% rise in its nine-month operating profit, followed by Toto which jumped 12.44% after the toilet maker raised its profit outlook.

Chip-related shares gained, with Nidec gaining 2.49%, Keyence rising 2.74% and Advantest rising 1.93%.

Game maker Nintendo rose 3.4% ahead of its earnings report on Monday.

However, some stocks declined despite the upbeat forecasts as investors had already priced in the revisions. Electronic component makers Murata fell 3.32% and TDK declined 4.68%.

Panasonic edged down 0.89% after the home electric appliances maker said it would cease production of its own solar panels.

Reporting by Junko Fujita in Tokyo; editing by Uttaresh.V

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