Japanese shares extend gains on recovery hopes, upbeat earnings

TOKYO, Feb 9 (Reuters) - Japanese shares extended gains to hit a fresh 30-year high on Tuesday as strong corporate earnings and progress in vaccine rollouts fuelled expectations for a quick normalisation of the global economy.

The Nikkei share average edged up 0.31% to 29,478.32 by 0147 GMT, while the broader Topix index was 0.01% higher at 1924.29. Both indexes were set to gain for a third session running.

“Market participants have shifted their targets to shares that would benefit in the post-coronavirus era from those driven by the pandemic,” said Hideyuki Suzuki, general manager of investment research at SBI Securities.

“The number of daily infection cases has been falling globally and vaccine distribution has started in countries which were hit the hardest. That’s what the market is looking at now.”

Wall Street reached all-time closing highs overnight, buoyed by prospects for increased stimulus and an accelerated vaccine rollout.

In Japan, SoftBank Group rose more than 5% to hit a two-decade high earlier in the session, after its Vision Fund unit reported record profits as portfolio company listings accelerated.

The airline sector gained, with Japan Airlines and ANA Holdings rising 3.55% and 1.7%, respectively.

Isuzu Motor rose 2.09% after the automaker raised its annual profit forecast, while Nissan Motor gained 1.0%.

Monex Group, owner of bitcoin exchange operator Coincheck, surged 11.08% as bitcoin jumped after Tesla Inc revealed it had bought $1.5 billion of the cryptocurrency and would soon accept it as a form of payment for cars.

Leading gains on Nikkei, SoftBank Group Corp rose 3.96%, Inpex Corp gained 3.15% and Nomura Holdings Inc jumped 3.09%.

The biggest percentage decliners were Bandai Namco Holdings Inc, down 7.07%, Taiyo Yuden, which lost 6.47%, and Mazda Motor, down by 5.49%.

Reporting by Junko Fujita; Editing by Devika Syamnath