Japan's Nikkei ends at near 3-wk high on boost from ex-dividend stocks, SoftBank

·1 min read

TOKYO, March 29 (Reuters) - Japan's Nikkei share average ended at a near three-week high on Wednesday as investors snapped up stocks set to go ex-dividend this week and market heavyweight SoftBank Group jumped on Alibaba Group's split-up plans.

The Nikkei index rose 1.33% to close at 27,883.78, its highest since March 10 and marking the biggest daily jump since March 22.

The broader Topix rose 1.46% to 1,995.48.

"Japanese stocks rose because of demand for shares with higher dividend payouts, while gains in SoftBank Group gave further strength," said Shigetoshi Kamada, general manager at the research department at Tachibana Securities.

SoftBank jumped 6.18% and lifted the Nikkei the most, by 62 points, after Alibaba Group announced plans to split into six units and explore fundraisings or listings for most of them. SoftBank has a stake in Alibaba.

Uniqlo brand owner Fast Retailing gained 0.90% and air-conditioning maker Daikin Industries rose 2.07%.

Oil explorers rose 2.63% and was the top gainer among the Tokyo Stock Exchange's 33 industry sub-indexes.

Fujitec surged 7.32% after its new board voted to oust Chairman Takakazu Uchiyama in another win for activist shareholder Oasis Management, a Hong Kong-based hedge fund which has a 17% stake in the elevator maker.

Chip-making equipment maker Tokyo Electron fell 0.56%, weighing the most on the Nikkei. Chip-testing equipment maker Advantest cut early losses to end 0.08% higher.

Drugmaker Daiichi Sankyo was among the heavyweights that fell, with a 0.22% drop.

Of the Nikkei components, 213 rose, 10 declined and two traded flat. (Reporting by Junko Fujita; Editing by Savio D'Souza)