U.S. stimulus bets, semiconductor revival drive Japan stocks to 30-year high

TOKYO, Jan 8 (Reuters) - Japanese stocks surged on Friday to a 30-year peak as optimism about further fiscal stimulus under incoming U.S. President Joe Biden and an improving outlook for semiconductor demand boosted investor appetite for riskier assets.

The Nikkei 225 Index was up 1.49% at 27,900.64 by 0200 GMT. The benchmark index surged to the highest since August 1990 shortly after the opening bell, with technology, raw materials, and banking shares leading the advance.

The broader Topix rose 0.89% to 1,842.67, reaching the highest since February 2018.

Sentiment for global equities got a major boost this week after Biden’s Democrats won control of the U.S. Senate in runoff elections, which will make it easier for his government to use big fiscal spending to stimulate the economy.

In addition, the outlook for the tech sector has brightened considerably after semiconductor makers Samsung Electronics Co Ltd and Micron Technology Inc forecast robust profit and revenue.

“We should expect more fiscal spending and more deficits under Biden,” said Masayuki Kichikawa, chief macro strategist at Sumitomo Mitsui Asset Management Co.

“We have a reflationary trade, because we have a weak dollar, stronger equities, higher long-term yields, and higher commodity prices.”

The stocks that gained the most among the top 30 core Topix names were Murata Manufacturing Co Ltd up 3.4%, followed by Daikin Industries Ltd rising 2.95%.

The Topix index for electric machinery makers, which includes many semiconductor-related shares, rose 1.94% to the highest since May 2000.

The underperformers among the Topix 30 were Hoya Corp down 1.79%, followed by Central Japan Railway Co losing 0.14%.

There were 162 advancers in the Nikkei index against 56 decliners.

The volume of shares traded on the Tokyo Stock Exchange’s main board was 0.58 billion, compared with the average of 1.19 billion in the past 30 days. (Reporting by Stanley White, Editing by Sherry Jacob-Phillips)