TOKYO, Sept 9 (Reuters) - Japanese shares advanced to a 5-1/2-week high on Monday, supported by hopes that stimulus from the world’s largest economies would help stave off a global recession.
The benchmark Nikkei average rose 0.5% to 21,305.89 by the midday break, while the broader Topix gained 0.6% to 1,546.62 - both were at their highest levels since Aug. 1.
Global equity markets received a lift after China’s central bank said on Friday it was cutting the amount of cash that banks must hold as reserves, releasing liquidity to shore up a slowing economy dragged down by the Sino-U.S. trade war.
Risk sentiment also improved as Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell said on Friday that the central bank will continue to act “as appropriate” to sustain the economic expansion in the world’s biggest economy.
However, broader stock market gains were tempered in the wake of lacklustre economic data - U.S. job growth slowed more than expected in August, while earlier on Monday data showed Japan’s economy grew at a slower pace than initially estimated in the second quarter.
Insurance and retailer were among the top performing sectors of the Tokyo’s 33 subindexes, with each rising 1.3%.
Elsewhere, regional bank shares rallied, buoyed by growing speculation of further consolidation in the industry after SBI Holdings and Shimane Bank announced a capital tie-up plan on Friday.
Tsukuba Bank jumped 4.6% and Fukushima Bank rose 2.2%, while Shimane Bank, which soared by daily limit of 16.4% in the previous session, shed 3.0%. SBI Holdings gained 1.0%.
Bucking the broad market trend, Nissan Motor fell 0.2% after the Nikkei newspaper reported chief executive Hiroto Saikawa as saying he wanted to “pass the baton” to the next generation as soon as possible. Sources told Reuters the carmaker’s nominating committee will discuss Saikawa’s resignation and possible successors on Monday. (Reporting by Tomo Uetake; Editing by Shri Navaratnam)