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Nikkei eases from over 30-year high; tech gains cap declines

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TOKYO, Jan 15 (Reuters) - Japan's benchmark Nikkei stock average snapped a five-session rally on Friday, slipping from a more than 30-year high hit in the previous session, while losses were capped by tech shares after Taiwanese chipmaker TSMC posted its best-ever quarterly profit.

The Nikkei closed down 0.62% to 28,519.18, after hitting a fresh high since August 1990 on Thursday. But it was set for its third straight weekly gains, up 1.35% for the week.

The broader Topix fell 0.89% to 1,856.61.

Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan also fell in afternoon trade, reversing its course toward record highs after U.S. President-elect Joe Biden proposed a $1.9 trillion coronavirus stimulus plan to jump start the world's largest economy.

"The Nikkei started slowing down at the end of yesterday's session as investors felt the overheat in the market," said Norihiro Fujito, chief investment strategist, Mitsubishi UFJ Morgan Stanley Securities.

"But this is a very limited decline. The market is supported by solid demand for chip shares on the back of robust earnings from TSMC."

Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co Ltd (TSMC) posted its best-ever quarterly profit on Thursday and raised revenue and capital spending estimates, pushing the Philadelphia semiconductor index to a record high.

That gave an additional boost to Japanese chip shares which were already in solid demand, Fujito said.

Seiko Epson gained 7.32%, while Tokyo Electron and Advantest gained 3.91% and 2.76%, respectively.

Canon was the top gainer in Nikkei, jumping 8.39%, after the company raised its profit forecast for the year just ended to well above analysts' estimates.

Fast Retailing fell 2.85%, even after it said its first-quarter operating profits were higher than the pre-pandemic levels.

Automakers also slipped, with Subaru shedding 2.11% after it became the latest car maker to cut production due to a global shortage of semiconductors. Toyota Motor fell 1.65%, while Honda Motor declined 2.88%. (Reporting by Junko Fujita; Editing by Rashmi Aich)