SYDNEY, March 27 (Reuters) - Japan's benchmark Nikkei share index bounced on Friday, after a sharp sell-off in the previous session, on expectations of stimulus measures to counter the impact of the coronavirus.
However capping gains in markets, the dollar fell more than 1% versus the yen to its 1-1/2-week low of 108.23 yen.
The Nikkei average rose 1.2% to 18,895.30 by the midday break, after losing a hefty 4.5% on Thursday.
The Nikkei's volatility index, a measure of investors' volatility expectations based on option pricing and considered to be a fear gauge, fell 2.1% to 53.06, moving further away from a nine-year peak of 60.86 hit on March 16.
Wall Street's main indexes surged about 6% on Thursday as record weekly U.S. jobless claims came in below investors' worst fears and the focus stayed on an unprecedented $2 trillion stimulus.
The staggering spike of 3.28 million in U.S. jobless claims led Fed Chair Jerome Powell to promise the bank would lend "aggressively" to cushion the impact of the coronavirus.
The broader Topix gained 1.3% to 1,417.95 by the midday recess.
All but six of the 33 sector sub-indexes on the Tokyo Stock Exchange were trading higher, with more defensive electric and gas and pharmaceutical being the top two performing sectors.
Nissan Motor Co Ltd dropped 1.7% after ratings agency Moody's downgraded the automaker's rating.
The Nikkei's heavyweight SoftBank Group gained 1.2%, a day after slumping 9.4% on Moody's downgrade.
Elsewhere, the TSE REIT index shed 2.7%, as investots booked profits after a recent rally. (Reporting by Tomo Uetake; Editing by Amy Caren Daniel)