February 6, 2020 / 2:31 AM / in 2 months

Nikkei at 1-1/2-week high on Wall Street rally, weaker yen

TOKYO, Feb 6 (Reuters) - Japanese shares advanced to their highest in 1-1/2 weeks on Thursday after U.S. benchmark S&P 500 hit a record high on encouraging economic data, while investors still kept a cautious eye on the impact from the coronavirus outbreak.

The benchmark Nikkei average advanced 2% to 23,784.86 in late-morning trade, on track to post the biggest daily rise in a month, while the broader Topix added 1.9% to 1,733.45. Both indexes were at their highest since Jan. 24.

All of the 33 sector subindexes on the Tokyo Stock Exchange were in positive territory, led by cyclical sectors, with oil and coal products, paper and pulp and mining becoming the top three performing subindexes.

On Wall Street, the S&P 500 climbed 1.1% to a record close and the Nasdaq Composite added 0.4% to an all-time peak, while the Dow advanced 1.7%, following upbeat ADP's private sector jobs report and ISM's non-manufacturing index.

The greenback hit a two-week high of 109.91 yen in early Asian trade, providing a tailwind for Japanese exporters, as a weaker local currency boosts corporate profits when they are repatriated.

With earnings season in full swing in Japan, Pan Pacific International Holdings Corp soared 18.4% after the discounter Don Quijote's parent raised its operating profit forecast for the year ending June.

Z Holdings Corp jumped 8.6% after internet services firm reported a net profit of 75.1 billion yen ($685 million) for the April-Dec period, up 7% from a year earlier, due to its consolidated subsidiary of ZoZo.

Bucking the overall firmness, DeNA Co Ltd dived 8.9% after the mobile partner of Nintendo booked a 49.4 billion yen writedown as its gaming business falters in Japan's saturated mobile market.

Although the financial markets found some comfort, traders admitted concerns about the coronavirus outbreak and its broader economic and market impact still linger.

The death toll from a new coronavirus in mainland China jumped by 73 to 563 on Thursday as experts intensified efforts to find a vaccine for a disease that has shut down Chinese cities and forced thousands more into quarantine around the world. Infections stand at 28,018.

Drugmakers and the World Health Organization played down reports about progress towards finding treatments, which had boosted traders' confidence.

$1 = 109.8300 yen Reporting By Tomo Uetake; Editing by Sherry Jacob-Phillips

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