Japan's Nikkei tracks tech-led Wall Street gains before Powell speech

TOKYO, Aug 26 (Reuters) – Japan’s Nikkei share average rallied on Friday, tracking tech-led Wall Street gains as market participants awaited a speech by Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell that could offer fresh clues on the path of U.S. monetary policy tightening.

The Nikkei had climbed 0.94% to 28,745.42 by the midday break, with more than three times as many stocks rising for each one that fell.

Industrials stood out as the best performing sector, followed by tech and basic materials. Energy was the only losing sector, down slightly amid a decline in crude oil prices overnight.

The broader Topix advanced 0.53% to 1,987.17.

The U.S. S&P 500 rose 1.41% on Thursday and the tech-heavy Nasdaq jumped 1.75%, led by gains in Nvidia and Amazon.

Tech stocks generally get a boost from lower bond yields, and those on the benchmark 10-year Treasury note slid the most in nearly three weeks overnight after several Fed officials were non-committal about the size of the interest rate hike they will approve at their meeting next month.

Powell will speak at the Fed’s annual symposium in Jackson Hole, Wyoming at 1400 GMT on Friday.

“Investor caution ahead of Jackson Hole has been priced into the market over a relatively long period of time. So, barring any unexpected bearish outcome, people are largely expecting that after the event, stocks will take a leg higher,” said a market participant at a domestic securities firm.

Despite its gains on Friday, which could be the strongest since Aug. 17, the Nikkei was on track for a 0.64% weekly drop. The Topix has declined 0.37% so far in the week.

On the Nikkei, chipmaking equipment maker Tokyo Electron was the biggest mover by index points, adding 42 points to the benchmark with a 2.65% gain.

Uniqlo store operator Fast Retailing was next, contributing 33 points with a 1.68% advance.

Startup investor SoftBank Group followed, adding 20 index points with a 1.68% rise. That’s after major holding Alibaba rallied following a Wall Street Journal report that the United States and China were nearing an agreement allowing American accounting regulators to travel to Hong Kong to inspect audit records of U.S.-listed Chinese companies. (Reporting by Tokyo markets team; Editing by Subhranshu Sahu)

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