May 11, 2018 / 2:00 AM / 14 days ago

Nikkei hits 3-month highs after Wall St rally; Suzuki, Panasonic shine

TOKYO, May 11 (Reuters) - Japan’s Nikkei share average rose to three-month highs on Friday, buoyed by a surge on Wall Street after weaker-than-expected U.S. inflation data eased concerns over the Federal Reserve hiking interest rates at an accelerated pace.

The Nikkei was up 0.75 percent at 22,663.08 after brushing 22,714.29, its highest since Feb. 5. The index has gained about 1 percent this week.

The broader Topix was up 0.56 percent at 1,787.64.

Chip-related shares rose after a surge by Apple lifted their U.S. peers. Tokyo Electron gained 2.3 percent, Advantest Corp added 1 pct and Murata Manufacturing climbed 3.5 percent.

Suzuki Motor Corp gained 7 percent after the automaker reported that its operating profit jumped 40.3 percent to 374.2 billion yen ($3.42 billion) for the year ended March, outperforming analyst estimates. Suzuki also anticipates a 2.3 percent rise in global vehicle sales this year to a record 3.3 million units.

With the earnings season in full swing corporate results dictated moves in other shares.

Panasonic Corp gained 4.7 percent after the electronics conglomerate reported a 58 percent surge in net profit for the year ended March to 236.04 billion yen thanks to growth in its automotive-related businesses.

Kirin Holdings advanced 1.8 percent after the brewer’s operating profit increased 26.4 percent to 74.4 billion yen in the January-March quarter.

Internet and e-commerce giant Rakuten Inc, on the other hand, lost 4.45 percent. Rakuten saw its operating profit slip 30.5 percent to 28.1 billion yen in the January-March quarter, with increases in e-commerce costs and its sponsorship deal with Spanish football club FC Barcelona seen to have weighed.

Of Tokyo’s 33 sub-indexes, 23 gained, led by precision machinery. ($1 = 109.5400 yen) (Reporting by the Tokyo markets team; Editing by Simon Cameron-Moore)

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