Nikkei hovers near 29-year peak as Biden edges toward victory

TOKYO, Nov 6 (Reuters) - Japanese shares on Friday hovered near a 29-year high, following strong cues from global equities, as investors hoped a gridlock in U.S. Congress during a possible Joe Biden presidency would be able to halt major policy changes.

The benchmark Nikkei share average rose 1.09% to 24,367.35 by the midday break, just a fraction below 24,448.07, a level unseen since November 1991. Earlier in the session, the index touched its highest since October 2018.

The broader Topix gained 0.76% to 1,662.46.

All but two of the 33 sector sub-indexes on the Tokyo exchange traded higher, with iron and steel, shippers and machineries leading the gains.

Investors expect Democrat Joe Biden to beat President Donald Trump and the Republicans to retain control of the Senate, allowing them to block the Democrats’ agenda, such as corporate tax hikes and massive borrowing for large spending.

While the election outcome hinged on a dwindling set of uncounted votes in a handful of battleground states, Biden maintained an edge over Trump. But uncertainty still loomed as the Republican incumbent mounts legal challenges to vote counts.

The Nikkei and Topix indexes were poised to mark their biggest weekly gains since late May, last up more than 5% each.

Among the stocks that gained the most among the top 30 core Topix names, Daikin Industries rose 4% after it made upward revisions to its net profit forecast for the year ending March 2021.

Toyota Motor climbed 2.35% ahead of its earnings report later in the day, after a media reported that the company would more than double its full-year operating profit forecast

Nintendo spiked 2.56% after the company raised its full-year operating profit forecast by 50%.

Elsewhere, Eisai extended gains after posting a near 18% jump in the previous trade, last up 7.34%, on expectations that the company and its partner Biogen Inc BIIB.O moved closer to receiving the U.S. FDA’s nod for their Alzheimer drug. (Reporting by Eimi Yamamitsu, Editing by Sherry Jacob-Phillips)