Japan shares end higher on U.S. stimulus hopes, post weekly gains

TOKYO, Oct 23 (Reuters) - Japanese shares ticked up on Friday after signs of progress in U.S. stimulus talks helped Wall Street finish higher overnight, while some investors refrained from making big bets ahead of a string of earnings reports next week.

The benchmark Nikkei share average rose 0.18% to 23,516.59, while the broader Topix gained 0.34% to 1,625.32. Both of the indexes posted weekly gains of more than 0.45%.

Wall Street provided a strong lead as positive economic data and the prospect of more fiscal stimulus helped all three major U.S. stock indexes end higher on Thursday.

The Japanese market showed little reaction to the final U.S. presidential debate ahead of the November election.

Mitsubishi Heavy Industries climbed more than 6.5% after Reuters reported it would freeze the development of its SpaceJet regional jet.

Online games developer Nexon Co soared above 17%, having hit the daily limit earlier after media reported the company would replace FamilyMart Co in the Nikkei stock average.

Other companies that were seen as potential replacements, such as Inc and Zozo Inc dropped more than 7% each.

The largest percentage loser in the index was Hitachi Construction Machinery, plunging more than 16% after media reported Hitachi Ltd was considering a partial sale of its stake in the company.

Shares of semiconductor firms Tokyo Electron and Advantest Corp lost 2.74% and 1.08%, respectively, tracking a 10% decline in Intel Corp’s shares after it reported a slump in quarterly margins.

The Mothers Index of start-up firm shares trimmed early losses but remained 0.93% lower as investors booked profits after a recent rally that pushed it to a 14-year high. The index posted its biggest weekly loss since July.

“Earnings reports from key firms will be out in full swing from next week. So perhaps investors are profit-taking to shift their focus to these firms,” said Takashi Hiroki, chief strategist at Monex. (Reporting by Eimi Yamamitsu; Editing by Aditya Soni)