Japanese Nikkei follows Wall Street rally to climb higher

Band Kevin Buckland

TOKYO, July 29 (Reuters)Japan’s Nikkei stock average rose slightly on Friday, gaining some support from the overnight rally on Wall Street, although the index failed to reach the psychological level of 28,000.

The Nikkei .N225 was up 0.46% at 27,944.55 at the midday break, after briefly climbing as high as 28,001.80. It crossed 28,015.68 on Thursday for the first time since June 10, but then fell back to end the day up 0.36% at 27,815.48.

The index is on track to post a weekly gain of 0.11%.

“Above 28,000, investors are keen to take profits, which is proving to be a stiff resistance point,” said Masahiro Ichikawa, chief market strategist at Sumitomo Mitsui DS Asset Management in Tokyo.

“Several times this year the Nikkei have attempted 28,000 but failed to stay above that level.”

Of the 225 stocks comprising the Nikkei, 136 rose versus 82 which fell, with seven trading flat.

Energy was the best performing sector, rising 0.92%, boosted by a surge in crude oil prices.

Utilities and healthcare stocks lagged, down 0.17% and 0.63%, respectively.

The expanded Topix .TOPX was stable at 1,949.23.

Overnight, the US S&P 500 .SPX jumped 1.21% and futures ESCv1 indicated a further 0.66% advance at the reopening.

Uniqlo Fast Retailing Store Operator 9983.T was the Nikkei’s biggest support, adding 48 points to the index with its 1.74% lead.

Advantest Chip Manufacturing Equipment Manufacturer 6857.T was another standout, rallying 4.64% after positive earnings.

NEC Shares 6701.T were the Nikkei’s biggest laggards, slipping 6.81% after the network services company reported its first loss in two years.

Renesas chipmaker 6723.Twhich is not part of the Nikkei index, fell 8.61% after its financial results disappointed investors.

Automakers sank under pressure from a stronger yen overnight, with Nissan 7201.T down 3.5% and Honda 7267.T lose 0.64%. Toyota 7203.T bucked the trend to gain 0.92%.

Early stage investor SoftBank Group 9984.T increased by 0.57% and Sony 6758.T climbed 1.24%.

(Editing by Sherry Jacob-Phillips)

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