Nikkei gains on global economic recovery hopes; banks track Goldman, Wells Fargo higher

TOKYO, April 15 (Reuters) - Japanese shares inched higher on Thursday as investors picked up cyclical firms that would benefit from a global economic rebound, while financials tracked an overnight rise in Goldman Sachs and Wells Fargo & Co stocks.

Nikkei share average edged up 0.3% to 29,709.38 by 0151 GMT, while the broader Topix gained 0.54% to 1,962.78. “There are concerns about the economic slowdown in Japan due to a resurgence of the virus, but investors are looking at the economic sensitive stocks that would benefit from foreign demand,” said Norihiro Fujito, chief investment strategist, Mitsubishi UFJ Morgan Stanley Securities.

“Particularly foreign trades are expected to be active and that is boosting shipping firms.”

The Topix subindex for shippers gained most among the 33 sector sub-indexes on the Tokyo exchange, with Nippon Yusen jumping 5.7%, Mitsui OSK Lines rising 3.17% and Kawasaki Kisen climbing 4.4%.

The sub-index for mining and oil refiners also advanced.

Financial shares rose after Goldman Sachs Group Inc and Wells Fargo & Co advanced on bumper first-quarter profits.

Mitsubishi UFJ Financial Group rose 2.11%, Sumitomo Mitsui Financial Group gained 2.16% and Nomura Holdings advanced 2.05%.

Toshiba Corp rose 1.65%, following reports that the conglomerate is seeing more bidders to take it private.

Seven & i Holdings Co, up 4.89 %, gained the most among the top 30 core Topix names, followed by Sumitomo Mitsui Financial Group.

The underperformers among the Topix 30 were Nintendo , down 1.71%, followed by Fanuc losing 0.55%.

There were 181 advancers on the Nikkei index against 41 decliners.

All but three of the 33 sector sub-indexes on the Tokyo exchange traded higher. (Reporing by Junko Fujita; Editing by Shailesh Kuber)