Nikkei shares inch higher as vaccine optimism lifts recovery hopes

TOKYO, Nov 27 (Reuters) - Japan’s Nikkei average inched higher on Friday as investor confidence climbed over prospects of recovery in economic growth and corporate earnings following promising news on COVID-19 vaccine distribution.

A drop in U.S. political uncertainty after President-elect Joe Biden’s transition to the White House and signs of pick-up in the Chinese economy also lifted the market.

Japan’s Nikkei share average was up 0.38% at 26,637.01 by 0100 GMT, on track for its fourth straight session of gains while hovering near its 29-1/2-year intraday high touched on Wednesday.

The index has gained 15.9% so far this month, and is on track for its best performance since January 1994. The broader Topix rose 0.54% to 1787.86.

“Investors are growing confident about profit recovery in the next financial year,” said Takuya Hozumi, global investment strategist at Mitsubishi UFJ Morgan Stanley Securities.

“When you think profits will rise 40-50% next year, the current valuation do not look expensive.”

U.S. President Donald Trump said on Thursday that delivery of the coronavirus vaccine would begin next week and the week after.

Electronic parts manufacturers are benefiting from hopes for increased demand related to electric vehicles, 5G communications and other new technologies.

Nidec gained 3.8% while Murata Manufacturing rose 2.4%, both hitting record highs. Keyence rose 1.7%.

Including many in the tech sector, growth shares led the gains, with Topix Growth rising 0.85% compared with 0.26% in Topix Value.

Ballpark operator Tokyo Dome Corp was untraded with glut of buy orders, quoted up 16.7% at the session’s upper price limit after the company said it will discuss a take-over bid by property developer Mitsui Fudosan.

Mitsui Fudosan gained 2%.

On the other hand, Monex, which owns crypto-currency exchange Coincheck, dropped 3% after bitcoin fell more than 8% on Thursday.

Trade was slow due to a U.S. Thanksgiving holiday on Thursday. (Reporting by Hideyuki Sano, Editing by Sherry Jacob-Phillips)