TOKYO: Japanese shares rose in holiday-thinned trade on Monday towards the highest in nearly three decades as investors continued to bet that U.S. fiscal stimulus and coronavirus vaccinations will quicken the global economic recovery. The Nikkei 225 Index ended up 0.74% at 26,854.03, just shy of a 30-year high hit last week. The broader Topix rose 0.54% to 1,788.04. Healthcare, utilities, industrial machinery makers and technology stocks rose on expectations that the earnings outlook will improve after a tumultuous year marred by the coronavirus outbreak. Bucking the positive mood, Sharp Corp fell 3.03% after saying it suspects one of its subsidiaries used improper accounting techniques. U.S. President Donald Trump signed a $2.3 trillion financial aid and spending bill after initially refusing to approve the legislation, which restores unemployment benefits to millions and averts a partial federal government shutdown. Europe launched a mass COVID-19 vaccination drive on Sunday. Vaccinations have also begun in Britain and the United States, raising hope that major economies can shake off the drag caused by the spread of the coronavirus. "Given the economic stimulus that has come from Japan, Europe, and the United States, it is possible that the global economy will recover faster than expected next year, but this is based on the assumption that vaccinations proceed smoothly," analysts at Daiwa Securities wrote in a research memo. The stocks that gained the most among the top 30 core Topix names were Murata Manufacturing Co Ltd up 4.67%, followed by Daiichi Sankyo Co Ltd gaining 2.64%. The underperformers among the Topix 30 were Takeda Pharmaceutical Co Ltd down 1.31%, followed by Mitsui & Co Ltd losing 0.55%. There were 115 advancers on the Nikkei index against 102 decliners. The volume of shares traded on the Tokyo Stock Exchange's main board was 0.88 billion, compared to the average of 1.24 billion in the past 30 days. - Reuters
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