July 25, 2019 / 6:16 AM / 4 months ago

Japan stocks rise as Wall St hits record highs, Advantest surges

* Nikkei gains 0.22%, brushes 2-1/2-mth peak

* Gains limited ahead of ECB, Fed policy decisions

* Advantest rallies, other tech-related shares also firm

By Shinichi Saoshiro

TOKYO, July 25 (Reuters) - Japanese stocks rose on Thursday after Wall Street climbed to record highs, although the gains were modest as investors showed restraint ahead of policy decisions by the European Central Bank later in the day and the Federal Reserve next week.

The Nikkei share average ended the day up 0.22% at 21,756.55 after touching 21,823.07, its highest since May 7.

The ECB is seen easing policy further on Thursday and the Fed is widely expected to lower interest rates by 25 basis points (bps) at its July 30-31 meeting.

“Easing expectations have been supportive for equities,” said Yutaka Miura, senior technical analyst at Mizuho Securities.

“But after July, the next FOMC (Federal Open Market Committee) meeting won’t take place until September, so it’s difficult to see equities drawing further support from the easing theme once and if the Fed cuts rates next week,” he said.

Chip equipment maker Advantest Corp surged 20.2% after earnings released the previous day showed that the company’s decline in April-June sales was not as steep as feared earlier, thanks to steady demand linked to 5G networks and artificial intelligence.

Other technology shares were supported after their U.S. peers gained overnight and propelled the Nasdaq and S&P 500 to record peaks.

Semiconductor product manufacturer Sumco Corp rose 2.44%, electronic component maker Rohm Co added 1.03% and Tokyo Electron advanced 3.63%.

Index heavyweight SoftBank Group was up 1.8% after media reports said the conglomerate is expected to announce a $40 billion investment in its technology-focused Vision Fund.

The broader Topix gained 0.13% to 1,577.85

Of Tokyo’s 33 sub-indexes, 19 ended in positive territory. (Reporting by Shinichi Saoshiro; Editing by Richard Borsuk)

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