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Japanese shares end higher after scaling 30-year highs

TOKYO, Feb 9 (Reuters) - Japanese shares closed higher for a third straight session, after hitting fresh 30-year highs, as strong corporate results and progress in vaccine rollouts raised expectations of a quick economic recovery.

The Nikkei share average ended 0.4% higher at 29,505.93, while the broader Topix index inched up 0.08% to 1,925.54. “Investors bought back stocks whose fundamentals are strong, like chip-related shares,” said Norihiro Fujito, chief investment strategist at Mitsubishi UFJ Morgan Stanley Securities.

“Airline and railway shares, which had been bought until this morning, became a target for selling as their fundamentals hadn’t started to improve yet.”

SoftBank Group closed with a gain of 3.41%. The stock had gained more than 5% to hit a two-decade high, driven by its Vision Fund’s record profits.

Chip-related shares climbed, with Murata Manufacturing rising 3.21%, TDK Corp jumping 2.65%, Advantest adding 2.26% and Tokyo Electron jumping 1.9%.

Monex Group, the owner of bitcoin exchange operator Coincheck, surged 16.05% as bitcoin jumped after Tesla Inc revealed it had bought $1.5 billion of the cryptocurrency and would soon accept it as a form of payment for cars.

The airline sector retreated from early gains, with Japan Airlines falling 0.95% and ANA Holdings losing 0.92%.

Automakers fell as the yen advanced against the dollar, with Honda Motor falling 1.19%, Nissan Motor losing 0.02% and Toyota Motor falling 0.54%.

The dollar traded at 104.85 yen, down 0.35% during the Asian trading hours.

The underperformers among the top 30 core Topix names were Hitachi which fell 3.06%, followed by Daikin Industries losing 2.50%. (Reporting by Junko Fujita; editing by Uttaresh.V)

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