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Japanese shares hit fresh 30-year high on robust corporate earnings

TOKYO, Feb 8 (Reuters) - Japanese shares rose sharply on Monday, with both Nikkei and Topix hitting 30-year highs, as strong corporate earnings lifted investor confidence for an economic recovery from pandemic lows.

The Nikkei share average jumped 2.09% to 29,380.12 by 0210 GMT, the highest level since August 1990, while the broader Topix rose 1.75% to 1,923.96, the highest since June 1991.

“With the vaccine rollouts and the fall in the number of daily COVID-19 infections, expectations for normalization of the economy is rising,” said Soichiro Matsumoto, chief investment officer Japan at Credit Suisse Private Banking.

“Better-than-expected corporate performance in this environment is also lifting sentiment. Many U.S. firms have reported upbeat results and Japanese companies, particularly those sensitive to overseas demand, are following suit.”

The S&P 500 and Nasdaq indexes on Friday scored their biggest weekly percentage gains since early November, powered by earnings optimism and progress on vaccine rollouts, while Democrats cleared the path for the approval of President Joe Biden’s $1.9 trillion COVID-19 relief package.

At home, steel makers led Nikkei’s gains, with Kobe Steel surging 13.94% on raising its full-year outlook and Nippon Steel jumping 9.1% after trimming its annual net loss forecast. JFE Holdings rose 6.57%.

Toyota Motor gained 1.67% ahead of its earnings report on Tuesday. Its autoparts affiliates Denso and Aisin Seiki, up 1.56% and 2.89% each, had raised their outlook last week.

Railway shares continued to gain, with Odakyu Electric Railway jumping 4.57%, Keio rising 4.61% and East Japan Railway gaining 4.09%. The stocks that gained the most among the top 30 core Topix companies were SoftBank Group, which is set to report earnings on Monday, rising 5.81%, followed by Daikin Industries Ltd gaining 4.96%.

The underperformers among the Topix 30 were Sony Corp , falling 1.81%, followed by Daiichi Sankyo, which lost 0.86%. (Reporting by Junko Fujita; Editing by Devika Syamnath)

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