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Japan's Nikkei reverses course to end higher as chip stocks narrow losses

Credit: REUTERS/KIM KYUNG-HOON

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TOKYO, March 14 (Reuters) - Japan's Nikkei share average changed course to end higher on Thursday, as heavyweight chip-related stocks narrowed early losses and energy shares gained.

The Nikkei .N225 closed 0.29% higher at 38,807.38, after three straight sessions of losses. The index fell as much as 0.76% earlier in the session.

The broader Topix .TOPX rose 0.49% to 2,661.59.

"Japan's major chip stocks mirrored the weak performance of U.S. chip stocks. It looks like the fever for Nvidia is over," said Shigetoshi Kamada, general manager at the research department at Tachibana Securities.

"For the Nikkei to cross the 40,000 level again, Tokyo Electron and its peers need to get a boost."

The S&P 500 .SPX and Nasdaq edged lower overnight as investors took profits in chipmaker stocks. The index of semiconductors .SOX lost 2.5%, with shares of Nvidia NVDA.O. which propelled a sharp rally in Japanese chip-related shares, slipping 1.1%. .N

The Nikkei crossed 40,000 for the first time earlier this month, driven by gains of chip-making equipment maker Tokyo Electron 8035.T and chip-testing equipment maker Advantest 6857.T.

On Thursday, Tokyo Electron and Advantest fell 0.45% and 2.35%, respectively.

Utility firms .IEPNG.T rose 4.12% to become the top performer among the 33 industry sub-indexes on the Tokyo Stock Exchange, with Tokyo Electric Power Holdings 9501.T jumping 6.76%.

Energy explorers .IMING.T rose 4.09%, with Eneos Holdings 5020.T gaining 5.32%.

Nissan Motor 7201.T jumped 2.23% after a local television network TV Tokyo reported that the automaker is considering seeking a business partnership with Honda Motor 7267.T, while the Nikkei business daily said they could collaborate on electric vehicles.

Honda rose 1.13%.

Uniqlo-owner Fast Retailing 9983.T rose 1.62% to become the biggest support for the Nikkei.

Of the 225 components on the Nikkei, 174 stocks rose, while 51 fell.

(Reporting by Junko Fujita; Editing by Rashmi Aich)

((junko.fujita@thomsonreuters.com;))

The views and opinions expressed herein are the views and opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Nasdaq, Inc.

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