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TOKYO: Japan’s Nikkei share average eked out meagre gains on Thursday, with the yen’s sudden appreciation and a mixed performance on Wall Street dragging on sentiment.

The Nikkei was up 0.07% at 38,299.71 by the midday close, with gains and losses relatively limited as investors avoided making big moves before the market entered a long holiday weekend.

The broader Topix gained 0.11% at 2,732.33. The US Federal Reserve’s monetary policy meeting concluded on Wednesday without any big surprises, with the central bank standing pat.

While the Fed flagged that recent disappointing inflation readings could make rate cuts a while in coming, it signalled it is still leaning towards eventual reductions, giving some solace.

“Many investors were worried the Fed may hike (again) if inflation continued to remain high, but Fed Chair Powell suggested that the likelihood of a further rate hike is low, so I think that was assuring,” said Kenji Abe, an equities strategist at Daiwa Securities.

But a surge in the yen against the dollar after the Fed’s meeting, suspected by traders to be another round of intervention by Tokyo, muted gains by export-related shares which tend to benefit from a weaker currency.

Japanese shares hit near 34-year high on tech gain, weaker yen

The dollar was last trading around 155.84 yen. Automakers Toyota Motor and Honda Motor both managed modest wins, up 0.3% and 0.1%, respectively.

Sony Group fell 0.2%, while Keyence Corp was up 0.1%.

At the same time, US stocks were mixed overnight, with the Philadelphia Semiconductor Index in particular taking a hit after weak quarterly results from tech firms Advanced Micro Devices and Super Micro Computer.

The snag in the tech rally abroad capped gains of chip-making equipment giant Tokyo Electron at 0.7%.

Chip-testing equipment maker Advantest slid 0.2%, and AI-focused startup investor SoftBank Group fell 0.3%.

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