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Techs lead Japanese share gains
( 2003-09-03 10:55) (CNN)

Japanese shares are higher in early trade Wednesday as investors buy tech issues such as Hitachi, Toshiba and Fujitsu on renewed optimism over the global economy.

That follows solid gains in U.S. stocks Tuesday after the Labor Day holiday.

Tokyo's Nikkei average is up 0.82 percent to 10,778.59, building on this week's gains that have taken it to a 14-month high. Big banks are among the biggest gainers.

The broader Topix index is up 1.03 percent to 1039.56.

Other markets in the region are also higher, with gains of about 0.4 percent each for South Korea and Australia. They are also at their best for more than a year.

The Nikkei has climbed 4.5 percent in three trading days, after data last Friday showing a bigger-than-expected rise in industrial output in July.

That was the latest piece of evidence to support investors' hopes for a cyclical recovery in Japan.

In the tech sector, the strongest gains are being made by Hitachi, up 4.7 percent to 683 yen.

Toshiba is 3.2 percent higher to 509 yen, Fujitsu is ahead 2.5 percent and consumer electronics leader Sony is up 1.5 percent to 4020 yen.

Big banks, which surged on Tuesday, are again posting solid gains, with Mizuho up another 6 percent and UFJ putting on 4 percent.

The market's biggest stock, mobile phone company NTT DoCoMo, is showing a 1 percent gain to 304,000 yen.

On Wall Street Tuesday, the tech-heavy Nasdaq put on 1.7 percent to hit a 17-month high, while the Dow finished 1.1 percent ahead for a 14-month high. (Full story)

Investors saw more signs of a U.S. economic recovery in a report on factory activity.

In Australia, the S&P/ASX200 is up 0.36 percent to 3229.3, with market leader News Corp up 1.3 percent to A$13.77.

Australia's central bank has again left interest rates on hold at 4.75 percent. That comes after data on Tuesday showing the economy grew a meager 0.1 percent in the June quarter over the previous quarter. (Full story)

In Seoul, the Kospi is ahead 0.5 percent to 770.59, helped by a 3 percent lift for big bank Shinhan.

Steelmaker Posco is up 2 percent to 145,500 won and Samsung Electronics is ahead slightly to 431,500 won.

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