Nikkei ends at near 30-year high on recovery hopes, upbeat machinery data

TOKYO, Dec 9 (Reuters) - Japanese shares closed at a near 30-year high on Wednesday, as Britain’s COVID-19 vaccine rollout and seeming progress over a U.S. stimulus deal boosted hopes of a swift global economic recovery, while upbeat domestic machinery data also buoyed sentiment.

The benchmark Nikkei share average rose 1.33% to 26,817.94, its highest closing since April 17, 1991. The broader Topix rose 1.17% to 1,779.42.

SoftBank Group Corp shares did most of the uplifting in the afternoon trade, jumping as much as 7% on a Bloomberg News report that the conglomerate was considering buying back shares to boost Chief Executive Officer Masayoshi Son’s stake.

Overnight, the S&P and Nasdaq indexes notched record highs.

Britain on Tuesday became the first Western nation to begin a wide vaccination campaign, and on encouraging COVID-19 vaccine news from Johnson & Johnson and Pfizer Inc.

Underpinning market sentiment further, data showed Japan’s core machinery orders rebounded sharply in October from the previous month’s drop.

The 17.1% jump was the largest month-on-month rise since comparable data became available in 2005, and far exceeded economists’ forecast of 2.8% in a Reuters poll.

“The strong data could lead to overall firmness in the manufacturing industry, as core machinery orders are leading indicators for capital spending,” said Kiyoshi Ishigane, chief fund manager at Mitsubishi UFJ Kokusai Asset Management Co, adding that cyclical machinery and material sectors outperformed.

Machinery companies Komatsu, SMC Corp and Fanuc Corp climbed between 2.27% and 2.98%.

Other sectors on the main bourse followed suit, with Paper and pulp and textiles rose 2.43% and 1.56%, respectively.

Semiconductors tracked their U.S. peers higher. Advantest Corp rose nearly 1.3%, while SUMCO spiked 5.41%

Tokyo Dome Corp slipped 4.4%, after property developer Mitsui Fudosan said Oasis Management was willing to tender shares of the ballpark operator to it.

The Mothers Index of start-up firm shares bucked the overall trend to decline 1.39%. (Reporting by Eimi Yamamitsu; Editing by Subhranshu Sahu and Rashmi Aich)