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Japanese shares rise on tech boost, economic recovery worries cap gains

TOKYO, May 25 (Reuters) - Japanese shares rose on Tuesday, as a strong finish on the Nasdaq overnight boosted heavyweight local technology stocks, although gains were capped by continued worries of a sluggish economic recovery because of slow vaccine rollouts in the country.

The Nikkei share average rose 0.58% to 28,528.58 by 0214 GMT, while the broader Topix edged up 0.23% to 1,917.42.

“High-priced stocks have lifted the Japanese market after a strong gain in the major U.S. indexes,” said Norihiro Fujito, chief investment strategist, Mitsubishi UFJ Morgan Stanley Securities.

“But, fundamentally, the market is weighed down on concerns on Japan’s slow response to the pandemic, which has caused a big gap between the economic sentiment in Japan against the U.S. and Europe. The pace of Japan’s vaccine rollouts is still incomparable with these countries.”

Wall Street’s three main indexes gained overnight, with the Nasdaq Composite jumping more than 1%, after U.S. Treasury yields retreated.

Chip-related shares advanced, with Tokyo Electron jumping 2.06% and Advantest rising 3.2%.

Other index heavyweights Fast Retailing gained 1.15% and SoftBank Group added 1.09%.

The prolonged pandemic continues to drag sentiment, with local media reports saying that Japan is leaning towards extending the emergency measures beyond May 31, while the U.S. State Department on Monday urged against travel to Japan.

Retailers declined, with J.Front Retailing losing 1.59%, Takashimaya falling 1.29% and Isetan Mitsukoshi Holdings slipping 1.02%. Nintendo, up 2.57%, gained the most among the top 30 core Topix names, followed by Sony Group, which rose 1.57%.

The underperformers among the Topix 30 were Honda Motor , falling 1.58%, followed by Hoya losing 1.30%.

There were 132 advancers on the Nikkei index against 83 decliners. (Reporting by Junko Fujita; editing by Uttaresh.V)

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