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Japanese shares rise as strong U.S. job data lifts sentiment, index heavyweights advance

TOKYO, April 5 (Reuters) - Japanese shares rose on Monday as strong U.S. jobs data lifted optimism on economic recovery from the pandemic lows, prompting investors to buy index heavyweights SoftBank Group and Fast Retailing as well as chip-related stocks.

The Nikkei share average advanced 0.82% to 30,097.50 by 0157 GMT, while the broader Topix rose 0.5% to 1,981.53.

The U.S. labour department said on Friday that nonfarm payrolls surged by 916,000 jobs last month, the biggest gain since last August and well above economists’ median forecast of 647,000.

“Investors have reacted very positively to the strong data for U.S. employment,” said Shoichi Arisawa, general manager of the investment research department at IwaiCosmo Securities.

“U.S. bond yields rose shortly after the job data came out and that is boosting Japanese bank shares as well.”

Index heavyweights Fast Retailing, an operator of Uniqlo brand clothing stores, rose 2.34% and tech start-up investor SoftBank Group gained 1.36%.

Chip-related shares rose, with Advantest rising 1.9%, Tokyo Electron gaining 0.59%, and Shin-Etsu Chemical rising 0.65%.

Banking shares rose, with Mitsubishi UFJ Financial Group jumping 2.73%, Sumitomo Mitsui Financial Group gaining 2.32% and Mizuho Financial Group advancing 2.4%.

Shipping firm Mitsui OSK Lines jumped 3.89% after it raised its annual current profit forecast to 120 billion yen ($1.09 billion) from 95 billion yen, helping the shipping sector to become the top gainer among the 33 sector sub-indexes.

Ebara Corp, up 4.71%, was the largest percentage gainer on the Nikkei, followed by Marubeni at 3.94% and Mitsui OSK Lines. The largest percentage losers in the index were Recruit Holdings, down 1.49%, followed by Takeda Pharmaceutical losing 1.06% and Daikin Industries down by 0.92 %. ($1 = 110.5600 yen) (Editing by Shailesh Kuber)

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