Topix scales over 5-month high as tech rally offsets transport share slump

TOKYO, Sept 2 (Reuters) - Japan’s Topix ended at a more than five-month peak on Thursday, recovering from earlier losses, as a tech rally offset a slump in transport shares.

The Topix rose 0.14% to 1,983.57, its highest closing level since March 29. The index rallied for a fourth straight session. The Nikkei share average ended 0.33% higher at its highest since July 14 of 28,543.51.

NTT and Nintendo were the top two performers among the 30 core Topix names, gaining 2.03% and 1.81%, respectively, while Sony Group added 1.40%.

Chipmakers rose with Advantest adding 2.07% and Tokyo Electron up 1.16%. Mobile game maker Nexon was the Nikkei’s second-best performer, rallying 2.80%.

The best performer was sauce-maker Kikkoman, jumping 4.19%.

Those gains offset the drag from a record 13.36% slump for West Japan Railway (JR West) after saying it would sell new shares, which pulled down other rail and transport stocks.

Despite gains overall, market participants said a monthly U.S. employment report due Friday, considered crucial to the Federal Reserve’s plans for tapering stimulus, was keeping investors cautious.

“It’s difficult to chase the market higher, although technically you can feel there’s fundamental strength supporting prices,” said a person at a domestic securities firm.

The Nikkei’s three worst performing stocks were all railways. JR East slumped 6.90% and JR Central lost 4.33%.

Airlines ANA Holdings and Japan Airlines fell 2.57% and 1.38%, respectively.

The land transport sub-sector was the worst performer on the Topix with a drop of 3.18%, while air transport fell 2.04%.

Reporting by Tokyo markets team; Editing by Subhranshu Sahu and Rashmi Aich