TOKYO, March 11 (Reuters) - Japanese shares inched higher on Thursday as investors picked up beaten-down cyclical stocks while cutting their positions in some index heavyweights.
The Nikkei index was up 0.49% at 29,179.43 by 0208 GMT, while the broader Topix edged up 0.27% to 1,924.83.
“Growth-related shares have helped the market, but a sell-off in index heavyweights has also weighed,” said Koichi Kurose, chief strategist, Resona Asset Management.
The Nikkei had rallied to a 30-year high last month on expectations of an economic rebound and better-than expected corporate earnings.
On Thursday, chip-related shares fell, with Tokyo Electron declining 1.72% and Advantest losing 0.72%. Both the stocks weighed on the benchmark Nikkei index, along with medical equipment maker Terumo and drug maker Astellas Pharma, losing 1.24% to 2.31%.
Shipping firms jumped, making them the largest gainers on the Nikkei, with Kawasaki Kisen surging 9.11%, Mitsui OSK Lines gaining 8.35% and Nippon Yusen rising 6.67%.
The largest percentage losers on the index were Isuzu Motors , down 4.21%, followed by Alps Alpine, losing 2.83% and Bridgestone down 2.37%.
Among the top 30 core Topix names, Recruit Holdings , up 1.77%, and Mitsui & Co, which rose 1.26%, gained the most. The underperformers were Murata Manufacturing Co, down 3.56%, and Keyence that fell 2.89%.
There were 154 advancers on the Nikkei index against 67 decliners.
Reporting by Junko Fujita in Tokyo; editing by Uttaresh.V