Japan's Nikkei tracks Wall Street advance, tech stocks lead gains

TOKYO, Dec 24 (Reuters) - Japan's Nikkei index edged up on Friday with heavyweight technology stocks leading gains, taking cues from an overnight strong finish on Wall Street, in holiday-thinned trading.

The Nikkei share average (.N225) edged up 0.1% at 28,824.88 by 0203 GMT, and is set to gain about 1% for the week. The broader Topix (.TOPX) slipped 0.04% to 1,988.72, but is on course to post a 0.22% weekly gain.

"With fewer overseas participants and thinner trading volumes, investors bet on heavy technology heavyweights, which lifted the Nikkei," said Shigetoshi Kamada, general manager at the research department at Tachibana Securities.

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"The market is much less volatile today, but after next week overseas participants will be back and the Japanese market could be lifted depending on the Wall Street performance."

Overnight, Wall Street's main indexes ended the holiday-shortened week on a positive note, buoyed by developments surrounding the Omicron coronavirus variant.

Vaccine makers AstraZeneca Plc (AZN.L) and Novavax Inc (NVAX.O) said their shots protected against Omicron as UK data suggested it may cause proportionally fewer hospital cases than the Delta variant. read more

However, public health experts warned the battle against COVID-19 was far from over.

In Japan, chip-making equipment maker Tokyo Electron (8035.T) led the Nikkei's gains, with a 1.56% rise. Air-conditioner maker Daikin Industries (6367.T) rose 1% and medical services platform M3 (2413.T) advanced 0.71%.

The Topix was weighed down by phone company NTT (9432.T), which fell 1.81%, and home appliances maker Mitsubishi Electric (6503.T), which slipped 2.24%.

Z Holdings (4689.T), up 3.33%, rose the most on the Nikkei, followed by Screen Holdings (7735.T), which advanced 2.24% and Hitachi Zosen (7004.T), gaining 2.17%.

Kawasaki Kisen Kaisha (9107.T), down 2.44%, was the worst performer on the Nikkei, followed by Sompo Holdings (8630.T) losing 2.36%.

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Reporting by Junko Fujita in Tokyo; Editing by Vinay Dwivedi

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