By Stanley White
TOKYO, July 15 (Reuters) - Japanese stocks rose on Wednesday to a five-week high as encouraging results from a coronavirus vaccine study and optimism about swift economic growth supported expectations that corporate earnings would pick up in the second half of the year.
The Nikkei index .N225 settled 1.59% higher at 22,945.50 after hitting its highest level since June 10, with industrial and consumer discretional shares leading the advance.
Risk sentiment got a boost after U.S. biotech firm Moderna Inc MRNA.O said its experimental coronavirus vaccine showed it was safe and provoked immune responses in an early-stage study. value shares are starting to catch up with the recent rally in global equities," said Kiyoshi Ishigane, chief fund manager at Mitsubishi UFJ Kokusai Asset Management.
"In the bigger picture, expectations for economic growth remain solid. We now have better methods to track the coronavirus and are further along in developing drugs to treat it."
Recent data from many major economies has shown signs that corporate activity and consumer spending are recovering from coronavirus-induced sharp declines.
Meanwhile, the Bank of Japan kept monetary policy steady on Wednesday and maintained its view that the economy would gradually emerge from the pandemic. were 207 advancers on the Nikkei index against 16 decliners.
The largest percentage gainer was car maker Nissan Motor Co Ltd 7201.T with a rise of 7.25%. Advertising agency Dentsu Group Inc 4324.T gained 5.48%, while plant engineering company JGC Holdings Corp 1963.T added 5.37%.
The broader TOPIX index .TOPX rose 1.56% to 1,589.51.
The volume of shares traded on the Tokyo Stock Exchange's main board .TOPX was 1.08 billion, compared with the 30-day average of 1.3 billion. (Editing by Sherry Jacob-Phillips and Subhranshu Sahu)
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