July 20, 2017 / 5:31 AM / in a year

Nikkei rides global rally but banks underperform

* BOJ cuts inflation outlook

* Major U.S. indexes close at record highs overnight

* Jump in crude futures lifts oil stocks

By Ayai Tomisawa and Lisa Twaronite

TOKYO, July 20 (Reuters) - Japanese stocks rose on Thursday, with investor sentiment staying bright after record highs on Wall Street.

The Nikkei was up 0.6 percent at 20,142.60 points by mid-afternoon.

As expected, the Bank of Japan kept monetary policy steady earlier in the day and pushed back again the timing for achieving its 2 percent inflation target, reinforcing expectations it will lag well behind major global central banks in dialling back its massive stimulus programme.

“While the outcome did not give a major impact to the market, investors are somewhat relieved that the easy monetary policy environment will continue for a while,” said Yutaka Miura, a senior technical analyst at Mizuho Securities.

Banks underperformed, however, with Mitsubishi UFJ Financial Group flat and Sumitomo Mitsui Financial Group dropping 0.8 percent.

On Wednesday, the Dow Jones Industrial Average, the S&P 500 and the Nasdaq Composite indexes all set record closing highs.

“There seems to some signs of euphoria in global stock markets, inspired by U.S. shares’ strong performance lately,” said Ayako Sera, senior market economist at Sumitomo Mitsui Trust in Tokyo.

Also supporting the mood was data early in the day which showed Japan’s exports rose for a seventh straight month in June, led by shipments of cars and electronics.

Oil-related shares rose after crude oil futures jumped almost 2 percent to six-week highs following a U.S. report showing a bigger weekly draw than forecast in crude and gasoline stocks, along with a surprise drop in distillate inventories.

The oil and coal sub-index on the Tokyo Stock Exchange rose 1.3 percent, as shares of Inpex rose 1.0 percent and Japan Petroleum added 1.4 percent.

The broader Topix rose 0.7 percent to 1,633.17, while the JPX-Nikkei Index 400 also rose 0.7 percent to 14,522.78.

Thirty of the Topix’s 33 subsectors advanced. (Reporting by Ayai Tomisawa and Lisa Twaronite; Editing by Kim Coghill)

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