Japanese stocks rose on Friday, with the benchmark Nikkei index set for an eighth straight weekly gain, as U.S. lawmakers approved a plan to raise the debt limit and on signs central bankers are in no hurry to tighten the monetary policy.
SoftBank Group Corp surged 5.4% amid speculation its chip unit will benefit from a boom in artificial intelligence investment. Dai-Ichi Life Holdings Inc leapt 3.55%, leading insurers higher as risks of financial catastrophe from a U.S. default eased.
The Nikkei index rose 0.76% to 31,384.93 at the midday break, edging closer to a three-decade high touched earlier this week. The broader Topix rose 1.07% to 2,172.36.
Major U.S. equity indexes closed at their highest levels since August 2022 overnight after resilient labour market data added to optimism that the Federal Reserve can steer the economy to a soft landing.
The U.S. Senate approved a plan to raise the debt limit, meanwhile, Bank of Japan Governor Kazuo Ueda told lawmakers the central bank did not have a set time-frame for achieving its 2% inflation target.
The Nikkei is poised for a 1.5% gain on the week. Among its members, 186 stocks rose in value on Friday versus 34 that fell.
"Despite the rise in the Nikkei, there's been a trend where decliners on the Prime Market outnumbered gainers," said Maki Sawada, a strategist at Nomura Securities.
"However, in the Nikkei's climb over the past few days, the number of stocks gaining in price has been increasing, so that suggests the index is being bought more broadly," she added.
Among the Tokyo Stock Exchange's 33 industry sectors, indexes tracking paper makers and insurers were the biggest gainers, rising more than 2%. Air transport companies were the biggest losers, sliding 0.53%.
(Reporting by Rocky Swift; Editing by Sherry Jacob-Phillips)