June 26, 2020 / 6:52 AM / 12 days ago

Japan shares track Wall St higher; banks gain as U.S. regulators relax rules

SYDNEY, June 26 (Reuters) - Japanese shares bounced back on Friday, tracking overnight Wall Street gains, with banks leading the rally in both markets, after U.S. regulators’ decision to ease some rules allayed fears over a spike in fresh COVID-19 cases.

The benchmark Nikkei average rose 1.1% to 22,512.08, rebounding from a 1-1/2-week closing low hit in the previous sessiom. For the week, the index eked out a marginal gain of 0.1%.

Wall Street’s major indexes closed higher on Thursday, with bank stocks soaring after U.S. banking regulators unveiled new rules that will make life easier for large banks with complex trading and investment portfolios. It helped to offset investor jitters over alarming increases in new coronavirus cases.

Riding on the upbeat wave, shares in Tokyo-listed banks also gained, with Mitsubishi UFJ Financial Group (MUFG) Inc, Sumitomo Mitsui Financial Group (SMFG) Inc and Mizuho Financial Group Inc rising between 1.3% and 1.7%.

The benchmark Nikkei’s heavyweight SoftBank Group Corp advanced 3% as the tech conglomerate said after the market close on Thursday that it would buy back up to 5.75% of own shares worth 500 billion yen ($4.7 billion) through March 31, 2021.

The broader Topix rose 1% to 1,577.37, with all but three of the 33 sector sub-indexes on the Tokyo exchange finishing higher.

Financial-related securities, banking and other financial were among the top performing sector subindexes on the main bourse.

Some retail investors bought the stocks of companies that will go ex-dividend on Monday, analysts said. Kyowa Kirin Co Ltd climbed 2.1% and Canon Inc added 0.5%.

Bucking the overall gaining trend, the index of Mothers startup shares fell 0.8%, after touching its highest level since Oct. 2, 2018 earlier in the session.

$1 = 107.1700 yen Reporting by Tomo Uetake; Editing by Rashmi Aich and Sherry Jacob-Phillips

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