Japanese shares end higher as cyclicals rally; heavyweights' decline caps gains

TOKYO, March 11 (Reuters) - Japanese shares closed higher on Thursday as investors picked up beaten-down cyclical stocks, although gains were capped by investors cutting their positions in some index heavyweights.

The Nikkei index ended up 0.6% at 29,211.64, while the broader Topix edged up 0.27% to 1,924.92

“Growth-related shares have helped the market, but a sell-off in index heavyweights has also weighed,” said Koichi Kurose, chief strategist, Resona Asset Management.

The Nikkei had rallied to a 30-year high last month on expectations of an economic rebound and better-than expected corporate earnings.

Shipping firms jumped, making them the largest gainers on the Nikkei, with Kawasaki Kisen surging 12.71%, Mitsui OSK Lines gaining 7.45% and Nippon Yusen rising 7.3%.

Shinsei Bank jumped 5.46% after a report that the bank acquired a 10% stake in Australia’s credit cards and consumer finance company Latitude Financial Group.

Chip-related shares fell, with Tokyo Electron declining 0.59% and Murata Manufacturing losing 3.09%.

Medical equipment maker Terumo, down 2.2%, weighed on the Nikkei index the most, followed by Tokyo Electron.

Drug makers also fell, with Astellas Pharma losing 1.43% and Daiichi Sankyo falling 1.22%.

The stocks that gained the most among the top 30 core Topix names were Recruit Holdings, up 2.74 %, followed by Nidec which rose 1.72%.

The underperformers among the Topix 30 were Murata Manufacturing, followed by Keyence Corp losing 2.73%.

There were 127 advancers on the Nikkei index against 93 decliners. (Reporting by Junko Fujita in Tokyo; editing by Uttaresh.V)