TOKYO, March 18 (Reuters) - Japanese shares jumped on Thursday, with the Topix index hitting a 30-year high, propelled by the U.S. Federal Reserve’s projection for a rapid economic growth and pledge for low rates.
The broader Topix advanced 1.23% to close at 2,008.51, crossing the 2,000 mark for the first time since May 1991. The Nikkei index jumped 1.01% to 30,216.75, its highest close in three weeks.
“Investors have a lot of reasons to sell stocks at the end of the fiscal year end March, but today their appetite for making bets greatly exceeded the sell-off pressure,” said Takatoshi Itoshima, strategist at Pictet Asset Management.
“The Fed gave investors confidence by brushing off uncertainties of the rate outlook by pledging to keep its interest rate at close to zero.”
The S&P 500 and Dow Jones Industrial Average closed at record highs on Wednesday after the Fed said the U.S. economy is heading for its strongest growth in nearly 40 years, fuelled by massive federal fiscal stimulus and the roll-out of COVID-19 vaccines.
In Japan, chip-related shares advanced, with Nikkei heavyweights Tokyo Electron jumping 2.72%, Fanuc gaining 1.94% and Advantest rising 3.32%.
The airliners gained, with ANA Holdings and Japan Airlines rising 1.32% and 1.46%, respectively, as the Japanese government’s advisory panel on coronavirus countermeasures approved a plan to let the state of emergency expire in the Tokyo area as scheduled on March 21.
Shikoku Electric Power surged 5.26% after a media report said a court ruled that the utility can resume operations of its only nuclear reactor.
Mitsubishi UFJ Financial Group, up 5.15%, and Toyota Motor, which rose 4.12%, were the biggest advancers on the Topix 30.
The underperformers among the Topix 30 were SoftBank Group , down 1.73%, followed by Astellas Pharma, losing 0.50%. (Reporting by Junko Fujita; Editing by Devika Syamnath)