TOKYO: Japan's benchmark Nikkei stock average closed at its highest level in three decades on Thursday, helped by a rally in tech shares and better-than-expected core machinery orders. The Nikkei index ended 0.85% higher at 28,698.26, while the broader Topix rose for a sixth straight session to end 0.48% higher at 1,873.28. The mood for equities also brightened ahead of an expected announcement later in the day about U.S. economic stimulus under incoming President Joe Biden. "The upward market trend is prompting investors to buy more stocks. Investors are buying stocks out of this 'fear of missing out' sentiment," said Takashi Hiroki, chief strategist, Monex Securities. Chip-related stocks led the gains, tracking a 7% jump in Intel after the company said it would replace its chief executive officer and expects to beat its financial forecast for the fourth quarter. Other tech-related shares also rose after data showed Japan's core machinery orders unexpectedly rose for a second straight month in November. Nikon Corp jumped 7.21% to be the largest gainer on the Nikkei 225 index, followed by Yaskawa Electric, rising 5.3%. Murata Manufacturing Co gained 0.84%, Fanuc Corp climbed 2.22%, while SoftBank Group rose 2.93%. Shares of brokerages also advanced, with online broker Monex Group surging 10.78%, while Nomura Holdings added 1.41% and Daiwa Securities Group jumped 2.29%. Honda Motor fell 0.07% after the company said it would halt output at its British factory next week due to COVID-19 related global supply chain issues. Toyota Motor gained 0.22%. The top percentage losers in the Nikkei 225 was GS Yuasa Corp, down 5.02%, followed by JFE Holdings Inc, Kawasaki Kisen Kaisha Ltd both losing 4.7% each. - Reuters
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