Japanese shares rise on recovery hopes; SoftBank extends decline

TOKYO, Sept 8 (Reuters) - Japanese stocks on Tuesday rose for the first time in three days as investors focused on COVID-19 vaccine developments and held on to hopes that global economic growth will continue to recover from the coronavirus crisis.

Bucking the uptrend were shares of SoftBank Group, which slumped to a two-month low after the company bought large amounts of call options on U.S. technology stocks.

The Nikkei 225 Index rose 0.42% to 23,186.45 by 0129 GMT, with consumer discretionary and consumer staples shares leading the gains. The broader Topix rose 0.18%.

Japanese shares were buoyed by gains in U.S. stock futures during Asian trading, but some investors avoided taking big positions because U.S. financial markets were closed on Monday for Labor Day holiday.

Data, which showed the number of coronavirus infections in Tokyo are trending lower, also supported the stock market.

The stocks that gained the most among the top 30 core Topix names were job placement company Recruit Holdings Co Ltd up 3.07%, followed by mobile carrier KDDI Corp rising 2.56%.

The underperformers among the Topix 30 were games maker Nintendo Co Ltd down 3.43%, followed by auto maker Honda Motor Co Ltd losing 1.29%.

SoftBank Group skidded by 2.4% on Tuesday, adding to an already hefty 7.2% decline in the previous session.

The company has spent billions of dollars buying shares in technology companies such as Amazon and has also made significant options purchases in tech companies, sources familiar with the matter told Reuters.

There were 154 advancers in the Nikkei index against 67 decliners on Tuesday.

Japan’s economy contracted in the first quarter more than initially reported, revised data showed earlier on Tuesday, but stocks took the downbeat numbers in their stride.

The volume of shares traded on the Tokyo Stock Exchange’s main board was 0.36 billion, compared with the average of 1.16 billion in the past 30 days. (Reporting by Stanley White, Editing by Sherry Jacob-Phillips)

Nuestros Estándares: Los principios Thomson Reuters.