Japanese stocks extend rally, fears over strain wane

Japanese stocks jumped Wednesday as investors began to hope that the Omicron strain would be less dangerous to the global economy than initially thought.

The Nikkei index rose 1.4 percent to 28,860.62, its highest closing level since Nov. 25, meeting resistance at about 28,910.

The broader Topix index added 0.6% to 2,002.24, while the Mothers startup index, which has been declining along with its U.S. counterparts in recent weeks, climbed 2.18%.

Preliminary data suggest that the Omicron strain is likely more contagious than other variants of the coronavirus, but does not cause a more severe course of the disease, U.S. Chief Infectious Disease Officer Anthony Fauci said Tuesday.

Shares of technology companies led gains on the Tokyo Stock Exchange, with semiconductor-related securities up 2.6 percent.

Renesas Electronics shares jumped 6.1%. Shares of Taiyo Yuden rose 5.1%, while Tokyo Electron (T:8035) added 2.8% and Lasertec (T:6920) gained 2.3%.

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