June 30, 2020 / 7:46 AM / 9 days ago

Japan shares end firmer as upbeat U.S. economic data lifts sentiment

TOKYO, June 30 (Reuters) - Japanese shares ended higher on Tuesday, as positive economic data from the United States and China helped to end the quarter on a strong note and as investors pinned hopes on stimulus.

The benchmark Nikkei average advanced 1.33% to 22,288.14. The benchmark gained 17.82% for the quarter.

Meanwhile, the broader Topix climbed 0.62% to 1,558.77, both rebounding from the lowest close touched in the previous session.

The Tokyo markets got an early boost tracking overnight gains in Wall Street, as investors hoped for a stimulus-backed economic rebound and after U.S. home sales data showed a quick recovery in housing market activity last month.

However, risk sentiment was weighed down by concerns over Sino-U.S. tensions after China's parliament passed the national security legislation for Hong Kong on Tuesday.

All but six of 33 sector sub-indexes on the Tokyo exchange traded higher on Tuesday, with highly cyclical iron and steel and airlines leading advances.

The yen softened against the dollar to 107.76, providing a tailwind for Japan's automaker stocks, with Honda Motor Co Ltd climbing 1.74% and Nissan Motor Co Ltd adding 1.14%.

Shares of Tokyo-listed aircraft components makers tracked U.S. peers higher, after a 14% surge in Boeing Co's stock after the company began its certification flight testing of a 737 MAX. Jamco Corp jumped 4.62%, while Toray Industries Inc advanced 2.55%.

Sentiment in global markets was lifted after data on China's vast factory sector showed activity quickened last month, defying expectations for a modest slowdown. However, export orders remained weak, suggesting the economy is still battling with uncertainties amid an economic recovery. (Reporting by Eimi Yamamitsu; Editing by Rashmi Aich and Sherry Jacob-Phillips)

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