Japan's Nikkei share average rose on Thursday to book its best month in two years, as bets that U.S. interest rates have peaked buoyed equities globally.

Japanese stocks also got a boost from a robust corporate earnings season earlier this month, as a weaker yen buoyed exporters and retailers successfully passed on higher costs to consumers.

The Nikkei ended the day up 0.5% at 33,486.89, rallying in the afternoon session after spending most of the morning slightly lower.

That extended the benchmark index's gain for the month to 8.52%, the most since November 2020.

The broader Topix added 0.44% on the day, for a monthly gain of 5.38%.

"Markets are now firmly embracing the idea that the Federal Reserve is done hiking, and its next move will be a cut," said Tony Sycamore, an analyst at IG markets.

"With the Nikkei having had the opportunity to consolidate gains and rebuild energy, the backdrop looks supportive for it to retest and break above resistance at 34,000 in the final weeks of the year."

The Nikkei reached a 33-year peak of 33,853.46 on Nov. 20.

On Thursday, chip-testing equipment maker Advantest was both the Nikkei's biggest percentage gainer and top points gainer, rallying 4.32%. Overnight, the Philadelphia SE semiconductor index rose 0.94%, compared to a very mixed performance by Wall Street's main three indexes.

Shippers were the top performers among the Tokyo Stock Exchange's 33 industry groups, up 2.01%.

Securities firms were another standout, gaining 1.46%. Drugmakers rounded out the top three, with a 1.21% advance.

At the other end, pulp and paper companies led losses with a 0.56% drop.

On the Nikkei, cosmetics maker Shiseido was by far the biggest percentage decliner, slumping 5.07%.

Of the benchmark's 225 components, 133 rose versus 87 that fell, while five were flat. (Reporting by Kevin Buckland; Editing by Rashmi Aich and Nivedita Bhattacharjee)