July 19, 2019 / 2:29 AM / 2 months ago

Japan shares bounce as Fed signals rate cut, chip sector gains

TOKYO, July 19 (Reuters) - Japanese stocks rebounded in Friday morning trade, tracking Wall Street moves and clawing back some of the previous session’s decline, with the semiconductor sector leading the gains.

The benchmark Nikkei share average rose 1.7% to 21,398.83 in midmorning trade but the index was on track to post a 1.3% loss for the week, its biggest weekly drop since late May.

Wall Street shares moved higher overnight as comments from New York Federal Reserve President John Williams helped cement expectations for an interest rate cut this month.

Taking their cues from Taiwanese chipmaker TSMC’s positive revenue outlook, Japan’s chip sector drove gains with Advantest, Disco and Tokyo Electron surging between 4.6% and 6.5% each.

The world’s largest contract chipmaker and supplier to Apple on Thursday posted a decline in second-quarter profit but said demand is likely to recover over the rest of the year, particularly from smartphone makers.

Bucking the firmer trend, Japan Post Holdings shed 0.4% to an all-time low after the Nikkei business daily reported the country’s largest private insurance firm Nippon Life requested Japan Post to halt selling its policies at its affiliate post offices.

The formerly state-owned Japan Post and its affiliate companies have faced scrutiny in recent weeks over their sales of insurance policies and toshin fund products.

The broader Topix advanced 1.8% to 1.562.05. (Reporting by Tomo Uetake; Editing by Sam Holmes)

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