Japan's Nikkei ends at 7-week high on tech shares' rally

TOKYO, Feb. 3 (Xinhua) - Japan's benchmark Nikkei stock index closed at a seven-week high on Friday, following U.S. tech shares' rally overnight along with stocks reporting solid earnings and profit outlooks.

The 225-issue Nikkei Stock Average added 107.41 points, or 0.39 percent, from Thursday to close the day at 27,509.46, marking its highest closing level since Dec. 16.

The broader Topix index, meanwhile, added 5.09 points, or 0.26 percent, to finish at 1,970.26.

The U.S. tech-heavy Nasdaq's more than three percent rally overnight, following dovish remarks on inflation by U.S. Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell, set a positive tone here early on, underscored by firms announcing robust earnings and outlooks like Sony Corp., local brokers said.

"Companies' outlook was clearly reflected in their share prices. Investors wanted to confirm their outlook before making active bets," Takamasa Ikeda, senior portfolio manager at GCI Asset Management, was quoted as saying.

Market strategists here said that despite some solid earnings from U.S. bellwethers, including Facebook operator Meta Platforms Inc., who surged 20 percent after announcing market-beating results, investors hit the sidelines in later trade for further cues as to the future course of the Fed's policy, with key U.S. employment data in focus.

"Investors were not in the mood to actively trade as they wanted to examine the pace of inflation with the jobs data," Toshikazu Horiuchi, equity strategist at IwaiCosmo Securities Co., was quoted as saying.

Among technology-linked shares finding favor, Sony Group leapt 6.2 percent, after it raised its profit forecast and increased its PlayStation 5 game console sales target.

Electric component maker TDK added 2.5 percent, while Murata Manufacturing ended the day 2.7 percent higher.

Japan's two main airlines ended mixed, with ANA Holdings rising 1.7 percent, after raising its full-year profit forecast, while Japan Airlines fell 3.6 percent, despite announcing it was back in the black following an increase in demand.

By the close of play, precision instrument and electric appliance-oriented shares comprised those that gained the most, with the turnover on the final trading day of the week coming to 3,217.46 billion yen (25.00 billion U.S. dollars).