Nikkei gains ahead of election results; SoftBank shines on Nvidia deal

TOKYO, Sept 14 (Reuters) - Japanese shares inched higher on Monday as investors awaited election results for the country’s ruling party to choose a successor to Prime Minister Shinzo Abe.

The benchmark Nikkei share average rose 0.74% to 23,579.48, while the broader Topix gained 0.93% to 1,651.91.

Japanese Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga is poised to become head of Japan’s ruling party on Monday and prime minister on Wednesday, succeeding Abe, the nation’s longest-serving leader.

As Suga has long been a loyal aide to Abe and has vowed to continue his policies, few market players expect radical changes.

But some market participants also speculated that investors might chase the market higher in the afternoon on hopes that stock prices could rise further after the election results.

Leading the gains, SoftBank Group jumped 9.4% after the company said it agreed to sell chip designer Arm to Nvidia Corp for as much as $40 billion in a deal set to reshape the semiconductor landscape.

Executives of the tech conglomerate have also held early-stage talks about taking the company private as it seeks a new strategy after disposing of several large assets, a person familiar with the matter told Reuters.

Also supporting market sentiment were gains in U.S. stock futures during the Asian trade in addition to COVID-19 vaccine hopes after AstraZeneca resumed its trials.

Paper and pulp led the sectoral gainers on the main bourse, up 2.4%, with Pack Corp climbing 3.83% and Nippon Paper Industries rising 1.64%

Mitsui High-tec soared 12.3% after the semiconductor reported operating profit of 726 million yen for the six months ended July 31.

Telecommunication companies were hit by worries over Suga being elected as the new leader, after he said on Friday he wanted to cut cell phone charges by around 40%.

Mobile phone carriers SoftBank Corp fell 1.99%, while NTT Docomo and KDDI Corp dropped 3.4% and 3.5%, respectively. (Reporting by Eimi Yamamitsu, Editing by Sherry Jacob-Phillips)