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Nikkei Gains, Fed's New Strategy Boosts Financials

TOKYO, Aug 28 (Reuters) - Japanese shares gained on Friday, as a jump in U.S. long-term bond yields following the Federal Reserve’s new long-term policy strategy to allow higher inflation boosted financials and other battered value stocks.

The Nikkei share average rose 0.36% to 23,290.80 and was on track for a weekly gain of about 1.6%. The broader Topix climbed 0.85% to 1,629.66, led by a 1.48% gain in Topix Value. Growth-oriented shares gained just 0.33%.

Life insurers and banks in Japan soared after the Fed put new weight on bolstering the U.S. labour market and promised to aim for 2% inflation on average, suggesting periods of too-low inflation would likely be followed by an effort to lift inflation “moderately above 2% for some time”.

The announcement lifted 10-year U.S. bond yields to a 3-1/2-month high of 0.787%.

Dai-ichi Life jumped 6.4%, while T&D Holdings gained 5.9%. Among banks, Mizuho added 3.3%, Sumitomo Mitsui Trust gained 4.0% and Sumitomo Mitsui Financial climbed 3.3%.

“It is becoming clear that the long-term U.S. bond yields have bottomed out. So, investors who haven’t prepared their positions for rising yields would want to buy insurers and financials as hedge,” said Takenori Yamamoto, a fund manager at Norinchukin Zenkyoren Asset.

Among other value shares, railway operators, hit by social distancing restrictions to contain the COVID-19 pandemic, gained. Central Japan Railway rose 4.4% and East Japan Railway added 4.4%. Real estate firm Mitsui Fudosan rose 4.5%.

On the other hand, investors booked profits from tech shares and other recent strong performers. Chip-making machine maker Tokyo Electron dropped 2.8%, while SoftBank Group shed 1.9%. Furniture store chain operator Nitori lost 1.9%.

Investors are now waiting for Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s news conference at 5:00 p.m. (0800 GMT) in which he is expected to address growing concerns about his health.

(Reporting by Hideyuki Sano, Editing by Subhranshu Sahu)

Source: Reuters

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