Japan's Nikkei hits year high on hopes for tech earnings

TOKYO, Oct 24 (Reuters) - Japan’s Nikkei index rose to the highest in more than a year on Thursday, as semiconductor-related shares bounced back from recent losses on optimism for improved corporate earnings.

By 0208 GMT, the Nikkei benchmark share average was up 0.63% at 22,767.24. It earlier rose to 22,774.70, the highest since Oct. 18, 2018. So far it is up 13% for the year.

Shares rose for the fourth consecutive trading session as investors who recently sold off Japanese technology stocks turned into bargain hunters following Microsoft Corp’s higher-than-expected sales forecasts for its cloud computing services.

A slightly weaker yen also supported share prices of Japan’s major exporters, because this tends to boost earnings repatriated from overseas.

There were 176 advancers on the Nikkei index against 44 decliners on Thursday.

The information and technology sector was the biggest gainer, rising 0.19%. Chip-making equipment manufacturer Tokyo Electron Ltd rose 1.89%, while electronic devices maker Kyocera Corp gained 0.92%.

The largest percentage gainers in the Nikkei index were parcel delivery and logistics firm Yamato Holdings Co Ltd up 4.25%, followed by Hino Motors Ltd rising 4.17%, and Mitsui E&S Holdings Co Ltd up by 4.03%.

The largest percentage losses in the index were Toray Industries Inc down 3.73%, followed by SoftBank Group Corp losing 2.6% and Teijin Ltd down by 1.69%.

Softbank’s shares hit their lowest since Jan. 30 on Thursday on continued worries that its finances will weaken due to its bailout of office-space sharing startup WeWork.

The broader Topix index rose 0.47% to 1,645.89.

The volume of shares traded on the Tokyo Stock Exchange’s main board was 0.61 billion, compared with the average of 1.24 billion in the past 30 days. (Editing by Jacqueline Wong)