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Japan stocks rise on recovery hopes, SoftBank falls again

TOKYO, Sept 8 (Reuters) - Japanese stocks rose on Tuesday for the first time in three sessions, as investors focused on COVID-19 vaccine developments and held on to hopes that global economic growth will continue to recover from the coronavirus crisis.

Conglomerate SoftBank Group, however, extended falls to hit a two-month low. It settled down 0.61%, adding to the previous session’s hefty 7.2% decline as the company bought large amounts of call options on U.S. technology stocks.

The company has spent billions of dollars buying shares in technology companies such as Amazon and has also made significant options purchases in tech companies, sources familiar with the matter told Reuters.

Traders said they now wanted to see whether U.S. tech shares recover from the last week’s rout.

The Nikkei 225 Index ended 0.8% higher at 23,274.13, with consumer discretionary and consumer staples shares leading the gains. The broader Topix rose 0.69%.

Japanese shares were also buoyed by gains in U.S. stock futures during Asian trading. U.S. financial markets were closed on Monday for the Labor Day holiday.

The Japanese government approved on Tuesday spending from emergency budget reserves to secure coronavirus vaccines, which supported investor sentiment.

The stocks that gained the most among the top 30 core Topix names were job placement company Recruit Holdings Co Ltd , up 2.62%, followed by mobile carrier NTT Docomo Inc , rising 2.3%.

The underperformers among the Topix 30 were games maker Nintendo Co Ltd, down 3.26%, followed by auto maker Honda Motor Co Ltd, losing 1.59%.

There were 169 advancers in the Nikkei index against 51 decliners.

Japan’s economy contracted more in the second quarter than initially reported, revised data showed, but stocks took the downbeat numbers in their stride.

The volume of shares traded on the Tokyo Stock Exchange’s main board was 1.07 billion, compared with the average of 1.16 billion in the past 30 days. (Reporting by Stanley White, Editing by Sherry Jacob-Phillips)

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