March 12, 2018 / 2:04 AM / in 11 days

Tech shares buoy Japan's Nikkei, unfazed by clouds over PM Abe

TOKYO, March 12 (Reuters) - Japan’s Nikkei share average rose over 1 percent on Monday, with technology stocks posting strong gains after February’s U.S. jobs report eased fears of inflation and aggressive interest rate hikes.

The Nikkei was up 1.76 percent at 21,846.22 points as of 0153 GMT. The index rose to as much as 21,971.16 in early trade, its highest since Feb. 28.

The stock market showed little reaction as Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe came under renewed fire over suspicions of cronysim involving sale of state-owned land.

“From past experience, investors know that scandals facing the current administration tends to go unanswered and eventually forgotten,” said global market strategist at JPMorgan Asset Management.

Chip-related technology stocks advanced following gains on Friday on the Nasdaq, with Tokyo Electron up 3.3 percent, SUMCO advancing 3.9 percent and Screen Holdings adding 1.7 percent.

Nikon Corp rose 2.2 percent and Canon Inc gained 2.1 percent.

Exporters were also supported after the dollar made large gains against the yen following Friday’s U.S. employment report.

Panasonic Corp climbed 2.6 percent, Bridgestone Corp added 3.2 percent and Nissan Motor Co rose 1.7 percent.

All of Tokyo’s 33 sub-indexes rose, led by rubber products and mining.

The broader Topix was up 1.4 percent at 1,739.82. (Reporting by the Tokyo markets team; Editing by Kim Coghill)

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