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Japan stocks end higher as tech sector back in favour

TOKYO, March 12 (Reuters) - Japanese shares rose for a fourth straight session on Friday, as technology stocks bounced back while expectations that low interest rates and big fiscal spending would continue to support global economic growth kept investor sentiment supported.

The Nikkei 225 Index ended up 1.73% at 29,717.83. The broader Topix rose 1.36% to 1,951.06. For the week, the Nikkei and Topix gained nearly 3% each.

Technology and energy shares rebounded from recent losses following their U.S. peers, but that was partly offset by selling in the real estate and financial sectors.

Overall sentiment remained positive because of strong expectations that the global economic growth will accelerate as more countries vaccinate their citizens for the novel coronavirus.

“Japanese stocks are still in an upward trend, but the U.S. economy is bouncing back so quickly that eventually the Federal Reserve will have to start talking about tapering bond purchases,” said Norihiro Fujito, chief investment strategist at Mitsubishi UFJ Morgan Stanley Securities.

“When that happens, we will see an 8%-10% correction in Japanese stocks, but the market will quickly bounce back because global growth is getting stronger.”

Shares in e-commerce company Rakuten Inc jumped by 8.64% after reports it would form a capital alliance with Japan Post Holdings Co, whose shares rose 4.89%.

Start-up investor SoftBank Group Corp rose 3.35% after South Korean e-commerce company Coupang, in which SoftBank holds a 35.1% stake, was valued at around $109 billion in its debut on Thursday.

Singapore-based ride hailing company Grab Holdings Inc, which is also backed by SoftBank, is in talks to go public through a merger that could value the company at nearly $40 billion, people said.

The underperformers among the Topix 30 were Astellas Pharma Inc, down 0.68%, followed by Tokio Marine Holdings Inc , losing 0.43%.

There were 156 advancers on the Nikkei index against 67 decliners on Friday. (Reporting by Stanley White; Editing by Subhranshu Sahu)

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